Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
157. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he has engaged with Clare County Council on the need for a Traveller project in the county; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that 50% of homelessness in County Clare is from the Traveller community and that there are 15 vacant Traveller accommodation units in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18020/21]
In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist local authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding. It is a matter for each local authority to set targets for the provision of Traveller accommodation, which they outline in their Traveller accommodation programmes.
In 2020, funding of €14.5 million was provided for the provision of Traveller-specific accommodation for new building and improvement works. For 2021 this funding has increased to €15.5 million. In addition, in 2020, my Department provided €56.4 million on the repair and re-let of 3,067 vacant local authority homes.
Addressing homelessness is a significant priority for this Government with €218m in Exchequer funding allocated to support the provision of homeless accommodation services in 2021. My Department’s role involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at a local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless services rests with individual housing authorities and Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988 sets out the purposes for which costs may be incurred by housing authorities in respect of the provision of homeless accommodation services.
While responsibility for the provision of accommodation for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities, the administration of homeless services is organised on a regional basis, with nine administrative regions in place. In the Mid West region, Limerick City and County Council is the lead authority for the region along with Clare. A homelessness consultative forum has been established in each region in accordance with Chapter 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009. It is a matter for the management group of the consultative forum, in the first instance, to determine the need for services and the funding required to address homelessness at a regional level. My Department contributed some €9.2m in Exchequer funding to the Mid West region in support of homeless accommodation services in 2020.