Thursday, 29 April 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
62. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he remains committed to the objective of the three year homeless strategy agreed by the managers of the Dublin local authorities and the Dublin area health boards; the reason there is a shortfall of €20 million in the funding for the strategy for this year; the reason voluntary housing agencies are unable to commission projects which have already been approved by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12198/04]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): The Government is firmly committed to tackling the issue of homelessness. I am not aware of a shortfall of €20 million in the funding for the strategy in 2004. My Department’s provision for the recoupment to local authorities of 90% of the cost of providing accommodation and related services for homeless persons in 2004 is €51 million. This brings to €190.6 million the total provided for this purpose since 2000.
The continued involvement of the local statutory and voluntary agencies is essential in facilitating the implementation of the homelessness strategies. The requirements for accommodation and related services provided by these agencies in 2004 were assessed by the homeless agency. I have received no indication that the amount I have allocated for the provision of these services in the Dublin area this year is insufficient. Further funding is provided by the local authorities and, in the case of care related services, by the health boards.
Since the publication of “Homelessness — An Integrated Strategy” in 2000, €22.63 million additional funding has been made available by the Department of Health and Children to meet care related commitments under the strategy. This is ongoing funding and will remain available to health boards for the provision of care related services to homeless persons. I have asked the Minister for Health and Children to ensure that there are sufficient resources available to meet the care related costs of homelessness services arising in 2004.
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