Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
58. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will establish a specific taskforce to review the impact of housing insecurity on one-parent families as part of the campaign by an organisation (details supplied). [59686/21]
I have received a copy of the policy proposals referenced and I want to assure Deputies that I will be continuing to accord priority to working with my colleagues in Government to ensure the delivery of the appropriate responses for lone parent families experiencing homelessness.
Supporting individuals and families facing homelessness is a key Government priority. The recently launched Housing for All plan commits to working to eradicate homelessness by 2030 and provides detail on how the Government is approaching this as a priority. Homelessness is complex and causal factors and family circumstances vary considerably as do the responses needed. Homelessness is also inter-related with the other areas of the housing system and with broader social and healthcare policy and service delivery. Therefore, a whole of Government approach is required in dealing with this challenge.
An important aspect of this plan is supporting families and children experiencing homelessness. Family homelessness, including lone-parent homelessness, has seen an appreciable reduction since 2019, but still remains a key challenge. The overriding objective is to provide homes to those households at risk of or experiencing homelessness through the various social housing supports available.
Many families have found themselves trapped in long term homelessness. Housing for All commits my Department to working with Local Authorities and NGOs to identify families experiencing long-term homelessness that have complex support needs. Those that do will be provided with enhanced tenancy sustainment supports to help them exit homelessness and maintain their homes. Additional supports are to be provided to families by Tusla the Child and Family Agency.
My Department is also funding Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service. This service provides advice and support to individuals, couples and families living in private rented accommodation experiencing tenancy problems. This service has been instrumental in preventing homelessness in the first instance and supporting people to remain in their homes. A number of ongoing public awareness campaigns, including those led by the Residential Tenancies Board, the Department of Social Protection and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, are all playing an important role in making households aware of the supports that are available.
Increasing the supply of housing, particularly new build social and affordable homes, is a key priority of this Government. Under Housing for All there are specific and costed plans to increase supply across all tenure types, including very significant commitments to social and affordable housing, with over 90,000 social homes and 36,000 affordable and 18,000 cost rental homes to be delivered by 2030. €4 billion in capital is being invested annually on social and affordable housing. This is the biggest such programme in the history of the State.
Housing for All specifically provides for the establishment of a National Homeless Action Committee. The primary objective of the Committee will be to bring together key Government Departments, agencies and stakeholders, to oversee implementation of the homeless inter-agency measures committed to under Housing for All and to ensure coherence and co-ordination of homeless related services in delivering policy measures and actions. Arrangements for the appointment of members of the Committee are currently in train, and it is to commence operation in December 2021.
The Government will continue to prioritise responses for families experiencing homelessness and this is being reflected in both strategic policy and in specific actions.