Min Coveney re-affirms commitment to tackle homelessness, acknowledging record exit levels

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., noted the publication of the February homeless figures today.

 

 National Figures February 2017
Homeless Adults 4,875
Homeless Families 1,239
Dependents 2,546

 

“The homelessness figures for February are disappointing, but not unexpected, after the small improvement we saw in January. February’s figures are a stark reminder of the difficulties we face in dealing with the homelessness problem. But we must continue to work hard and redouble our efforts. Last year 3,052 households exited homelessness, which is the highest level ever, and the level of ambition is greater again this year. This is a substantial increase on the 2,300 exits achieved in 2015 and reflects the significant on-going work being done by housing authorities and their partner NGOs in helping households and individuals transition from homelessness to more permanent homes,” said Minister Coveney.

In relation to 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, my department, Local Authorities and NGOs have been meeting regularly and working closely together to ensure that suitable and appropriate arrangements and plans are in place to deliver on this very important target.

In particular, a broad range of actions and measures are being advanced by the four Dublin Local Authorities to deal with this critical Government priority, including accommodating families through Homeless Housing Assistance Payments (HAP), Supported Family Facilities and 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.”

“I remain fully committed to working with all key players 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 have been meeting the relevant Local Authority Chief Executives on a very regular basis,” said the Minister.

“Last year, 810 households were supported into secure tenancies with the Homeless HAP. This year, 421 households have already been supported under the scheme.”

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, 421 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. In addition, since the first week of March, 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 last year, we have made continued efforts to deliver the objectives in the plan in relation to dealing with the complex issue of homelessness. This Government continues to make available the substantial resources required to tackle homelessness. I am committed to the ending of the use of commercial hotels for emergency accommodation for families by mid-July and will continue working with the Local Authorities, NGOs and all key players to ensure that this is achieved”, added Minister Coveney.

“While we are finding more homes for people who find themselves homeless, we remain fully focused on increasing supply which is at the core of our housing challenges. There are no simple solutions here but I will continue to work with my colleagues in Government to address the major challenge that homelessness presents,” the Minister concluded.