Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): The current homeless strategy, The Way Home — A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness 2008-2013, sets out Government policy on tackling homelessness and has a number of key aims including:
While the current Strategy is fundamentally sound, some key targets have not been achieved and the Programme for Government is committed to reviewing the current strategy and to adopting a ‘housing led’ approach to homelessness. Work now underway on updating the strategy is almost complete and the review will take account of demands on existing housing, will assess how to best continue providing services, and will ensure more effective prevention strategies.
There is no single solution to increasing the level of social housing supply for the homeless, and maximising delivery will require flexible and diverse approaches. The initial emphasis will necessarily be on the Dublin region, where homeless numbers are most acute, by moving away from the current over reliance on emergency accommodation provision to a more permanent accommodation solution, to be achieved through a number of measures including:
My Department’s funding provision for the running costs of homeless accommodation and related services for 2012 is €50 million, which together with 10% provided from housing authorities’ own resources, brings the total available funding to €55.55 million in 2012. This level of funding means that there will be no reduction in the provision of essential front line support services.
The National Implementation Plan for the Homeless Strategy also provides for the development of a more devolved allocation-based system for the provision of accommodation-related funding to housing authorities with emphasis on increased decision making at local level, in lieu of the existing individual project based arrangements, to improve overall efficiency, value for money and greater local decision making in homeless services.
A Protocol which sets outs arrangements and responsibilities for delegation of Section 10, Housing Act, 1988 funding between my Department and Dublin City Council in relation to the provision of ongoing revenue funding for homeless accommodation and related service costs has already being put in place in the Dublin region beginning 1 January 2012. This will be extended nationally to the other regions beginning quarters April 2012 and July 2012.
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