Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Question 242: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his target of eliminating long-term homelessness by 2010 has been reached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45316/10]
Michael Finneran (Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing and Local Services, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Roscommon-South Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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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 housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Action to address homelessness is a matter for the housing authorities and the HSE, which, respectively, have statutory responsibility for providing accommodation and health care services for homeless persons.
I have put in place a comprehensive range of measures to underpin the role of housing authorities and approved housing bodies towards achieving the ambitious objective of eliminating long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough, including an enhanced programme for procurement of accommodation. A new tenancy support system to help such persons live independently has also been put in place. I recently approved €60 million for the purchase of accommodation to meet the needs of persons with specific categories of housing need, including persons moving out of temporary homeless accommodation. Over 100 of these units will provide long-term accommodation for such persons, and approved housing bodies have been asked to develop proposals for the further delivery of leased units in addition to accommodation approved under this initiative .
Delivery on these initiatives and the achievement of the target of eliminating long-term homelessness will be determined primarily by action on the part of housing authorities and approved housing bodies and the response of market interests, including property owners and financial institutions. My Department is continuing to engage closely with the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency and with the housing authorities, in particular the Dublin local authorities where the homelessness issue is most pronounced, to ensure that delivery of accommodation is maximised and the drive to eliminate long-term homelessness is advanced as rapidly as possible.