Minister Coveney re-affirms his commitment to tackling homelessness

26 April 2017
By Tom O’Sullivan
tom@TheCork.ie

Cork based Minister Simon Coveney TD

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., noted the publication of the March Homeless Figures this week

National Figures March 2017

  • Homeless Adults 4,909
  • Homeless Families 1,256
  • Dependents 2,563

“The figures for March are a stark indicator of the challenges we face as we remain focussed and determined to address this problem. The 3,052 households who exited homelessness in 2016 is a substantial increase on the 2,300 exits achieved in 2015. This reflects the significant resources being applied and the ongoing work being done by housing authorities and their partner NGOs in assisting households and individuals transition from homelessness to more permanent homes. We are committed to a higher number exiting in 2017. Said, Minister Coveney.

“A broad range of actions and measures are being advanced by the four Dublin Local Authorities and I continue to meet with the CEOs to deal with this priority for Government, including accommodating families through Homeless Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) and Supported Family Facilities. Accommodation will also be provided in homes that become available through a range of schemes, including the Rapid Build programme and Repair and Leasing scheme. Multiple initiatives to bring vacant properties into use are also underway with both the Housing Agency and local authorities pursuing these properties. In addition my Department, Local Authorities and NGOs continue to meet regularly and work closely together to ensure that suitable and appropriate arrangements and plans are put in place to deliver on the Government’s commitment to exit homeless families from hotels so that by mid-2017, hotels will only be used as emergency accommodation in exceptional circumstances.

“I will continue to work with all the stakeholders to ensure that this ambitious target of Government is met and that a better way of life and the appropriate supports are provided for families, who need them most. In this regard, I and my department officials continue to meet the relevant Local Authority Chief Executives on an ongoing basis,” said the Minister.

Rough Sleeper Count
Minister Coveney has also noted the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and Dublin City Council (DCC) confirmed this week that the official spring count on rough sleeping identified a minimum of 138 persons sleeping rough across the Dublin region on the night of April 4th and into the morning of 5th April.

In January 2017, Minister Coveney approved a further increase in emergency bed capacity in the city for the DRHE and DCC. They are currently working on several different projects with a total capacity of up to 150 additional emergency spaces.

It should be noted that Homeless HAP, along with other social housing supports, are making an important contribution to exits from homelessness. Last year, 810 households were supported into secure tenancies with the Homeless HAP. This year, 505 households have already been supported under the scheme. A HAP Placefinder service, operated by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) is helping people to secure tenancies under the Homeless HAP pilot scheme. A Homeless Placefinder service has been rolled out by Cork City Council to seek out potential properties under the mainstream HAP scheme.

“Since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland in July last year, we have made continued efforts to deliver on the objectives in the plan in relation to dealing with the challenging and complex issue of homelessness. This Government continues to apply the substantial resources required to deal with homelessness. added Minister Coveney.

“We remain committed to finding more homes for people who find themselves homeless, we remain fully focused on increasing supply which is at the core of our various housing challenges. There are no quick-fix solutions here but I will continue to work with my colleagues in Government and all stakeholders to address the major challenge that is homelessness.” ended Minister Coveney.

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