Thursday, 12 November 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
211. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the mechanisms that exist to ensure the voices of persons with disabilities are heard on housing provision; his views on the effectiveness of the mechanism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35992/20]
The National Housing Strategy for people with a Disability (NHSPWD) 2011-2016 and associated National Implementation Framework were jointly published by my Department and the Department of Health. They set out the Government’s broad framework for the delivery of housing for people with disabilities and were developed as part of a coherent framework in conjunction with the Government’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change (2008), and the report of the working group on congregated settings, Time to Move on from Congregated Settings (2011). In 2016, under Rebuilding Ireland the Strategy was extended to allow it to continue to achieve its aims.
The Strategy has nine Strategic Aims including a key measure which was the establishment in each local authority area of Housing and Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs). The Steering Groups are the most critical fora in which people with disabilities can influence the delivery of housing in their local areas and includes representatives of key disability organisations as well as the local authority, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the voluntary housing sector. The Groups are tasked with the preparation of a Strategic Plan for delivering housing for people with a disability in their areas by identifying current need as informed by the local authority Housing Waiting Lists, the emerging need over the currency of the Plans and the setting of targets for delivery under each of the social housing solutions available. The Strategic Plans which form a part of the local authority Housing Services Plans provide the local authority and other housing providers with information that helps to inform and guide the provision of suitable housing options for people with a disability over the five-year period of the Plan. As a number of these Plans date from 2016 they will be reviewed in 2021. The Housing Agency supports local authorities in the operation of the Steering Groups and provides training to the membership of the Groups to ensure that they fulfil their role as envisaged in the NHSPWD.
At national level the Housing Agency drives the Strategy primarily through its Housing Subgroup which was established to support the effective implementation of the Strategy and to facilitate a uniformity of approach at local level. The membership of the Group includes representatives of disability organisations who input into the annual work plan of the Group. Since 2011 the Group has been involved in a number of initiatives under the Strategy including the putting in place of a project for the transfer of people with a low-to-medium mental health need from HSE care to community living with supports. In addition, the Group was centrally involved in the drafting in 2014, and the revision in 2017 of the National Guidelines for the Assessment and Allocation Process for Social Housing Provision for People with a Disability which are an invaluable tool for local authorities in the assessment of housing applications from people with a disability and could not have been completed without the input of people with disabilities.
People with disabilities are also represented on my Department's Implementation Monitoring Group for the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability which reports annually on progress under the Strategy and are also represented on a Disability Consultative Committee chaired by my Department which monitors progress in my Department on the Actions in the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, which includes housing for people with a disability.
The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability will be reviewed in 2021. The Advisory Group will include representatives from the disability groups and part of the work of the Group will be to ensure that the voices of people with a disability are heard effectively in relation to housing provision.