Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Ceisteanna (50)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

50. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the new homeless policy initiatives he will introduce to prevent the rise in homelessness in and outside Dublin in view of the fact that outside Dublin the number of adults in private emergency accommodation has increased from 40 in June 2014 to 1,200 in July 2019; and if he is considering allocating additional funding to specifically focus on preventing homelessness in Budget 2020. [37636/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Rebuilding Ireland is underpinned by over €6 billion in funding to support the delivery of 50,000 new social housing homes and 87,000 other social housing supports by 2021. In 2018, 8,000 new social homes were delivered nationally and this year, a further 10,000 new social homes will be delivered.

Within Rebuilding Ireland, supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness is identified as a key priority for the Government. Increasing the level of overall housing supply, particularly in terms of social and affordable housing, and ensuring stability in the rental sector are essential to addressing fully the challenging situation in relation to homelessness, and very substantial progress continues to be made in those areas. In parallel, additional and improved emergency accommodation is being provided, including through additional supported emergency beds and family hubs, in order to ensure that the needs of those experiencing homelessness can be responded to in as comprehensive a manner as possible. To date, 28 family hubs have been developed in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Louth and Meath.

The Implementation Plan for Housing First, published in September 2018, is delivering permanent housing solutions for rough sleepers and long-term users of emergency accommodation. The Plan contains targets for each local authority, with an overall national target of 663 tenancies to be delivered by 2021. All regions now either have a contract in place or are at an advanced stage of the tendering process and tenancies are now in place in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

Preventing homelessness continues to be a priority, and in this regard, the Government has introduced new legislation to strengthen the protections for tenants, including significantly extended tenancy termination notice periods. In addition, there are now Rent Pressure Zones in 42 areas nationally, in which rent increases are limited to 4 % p.a., and the operation of which has been strengthened further under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019.

The Government has also increased the funding available to local authorities to deliver homeless services. Budget 2019 provided an allocation of €146m, an increase of over 25% on the 2018 allocation. Funding for 2020 will be determined as part of the estimates process.

In 2018, the comprehensive programme of actions under Rebuilding Ireland supported 5,135 adults in exiting from homelessness, an increase of 8.6% on 2017. For the first 6 months of this year, 2,285 adults exited homelessness, a 21% increase on the comparable period last year. My Department will continue to work closely with the local authorities to ensure that comprehensive housing supports for all families and individuals experiencing homelessness are delivered as speedily as possible.