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Homeless Persons Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 23 June 2022

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Ceisteanna (50)

Martin Browne

Ceist:

50. Deputy Martin Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to address the increased number of homeless persons in County Tipperary. [33095/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The continuing increase in the numbers accessing emergency accommodation throughout the country is a serious concern. The Government, local authorities and others are making every effort to reduce homelessness. Key to this is the delivery of new social housing and boosting overall supply.

The Government is investing significantly in social and affordable housing, with record funding allocated for current and capital investment in housing this year alone. This year funding is in place to deliver 11,800 social homes, including 9,000 new build homes, thus building on the progress made last year when 9,183 new social homes were provided, a 17% increase on 2020.

More specifically, I have established the National Homeless Action Committee with initial key priorities being the advancement of additional measures to prevent Homelessness and the Youth Homelessness Strategy. The Committee will meet again in early July to further advance these measures.

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of local authorities in addressing homelessness at a local level.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual local authorities. 

 I am working with Government colleagues and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to provide for an increase in the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) discretion rate to 35%  and to expand the couple’s rate to single persons for new tenancies This will secure more tenancies and prevent new entries to homelessness.

Local authorities are prioritising tenancy support services, prevention and the use of the Placefinder service for HAP tenancies.

My Department has undertaken a review of Housing Delivery Action Plans which were submitted by local authorities.  These have included specific provision for one-bed units which are critical for exits for single homeless people, and for the delivery of 4-bed units, which are key in supporting exits from homelessness for larger families. The plans will be published by local authorities before the end of Quarter 2 2022.

 There will be a new Voids programme for 2022 with an emphasis on quick turnaround and re-letting of vacant social housing stock. In addition, in line with the commitment in Housing for All to support local authorities to drive take up of the enhanced Repair and Leasing scheme, the Government has recently approved a pilot expansion which will open the scheme to a wider range of owners, by removing the criteria that a property owner must be unable to fund or access funding to bring former vacant commercial and institutional buildings back into use under the Repair and Leasing scheme. These measures will increase supply of homes to those on social housing waiting lists, including those in emergency accommodation.

Recently, I also reinstated the delegated sanction to local authorities in respect of social housing acquisitions that meet certain criteria.  This will allow local authorities more flexibility to secure acquisitions which support a household to exit or to prevent homelessness.

We are providing more social homes, we are completing more homes in general and we have a strong pipeline of homes commenced. This supply activity, as well as targeted measures specifically centred on homelessness, will allow us to meet the challenge of eradicating homelessness. 

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