Ministers Murphy & Harris launch Housing First National Implementation Plan

Eoghan Murphy, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and Simon Harris, T.D., Minister for Health today (26 September 2018) welcomed the launch of the Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021 which will see the highly effective programme to reduce and end rough sleeping and long-term homelessness extended to every county in Ireland. The Minister was speaking at a visit to the home of a tenant of the Dublin Housing First programme in a social housing development completed by the Peter McVerry Trust in 2017.

The Housing First Implementation Plan underpins the Government’s commitment to provide permanent and lasting solutions to address rough sleeping and long-term homelessness in Ireland. Earlier this year, a National Director of Housing First, Mr Bob Jordan, was appointed, within the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, to drive the delivery of Housing First nationally and was requested by the Minister to produce an Implementation Plan.

The Housing First approach has been Government policy for a number of years. It recognises that many of those rough sleeping require significant health supports, particularly in the area of addiction and mental health. With Housing First, the priority is to support a person who has experienced homelessness into permanent housing as quickly as possible where they can receive the tenancy and health supports that they require. Housing First recognises that a stable home provides the basis for recovery in other areas.

Minister Murphy commented “the publication of this Plan is one of the most significant responses by the State to dealing with long term homelessness. By providing housing and wraparound health supports simultaneously to some of the most vulnerable homeless individuals, we are seeking to ensure that they remain out of homelessness permanently.  Housing First recognises the need for a coordinated response to homelessness by housing and health authorities and I have worked closely with Minister Harris since coming into office on providing a more coordinated response in this area.  The delivery of the Plan will be a joint effort between our two Departments, the local authorities and the HSE”.

The Minister also outlined the significant expansion of Housing First envisaged by the Implementation Plan.  “This Plan greatly expands the scope of Housing First by setting targets to support over 650 individuals.  The target group will be individuals who are rough sleeping, or are long term users of emergency accommodation, who will be supported to move to homes with the necessary tenancy and health supports.   The Plan sets targets for every local authority and aims to reduce and where possible eliminate rough sleeping and long term use of emergency accommodation. Both Minister Harris and I are strongly committed to ensuring that the targets in the Plan are delivered.”