THE Government has this Tuesday approved significant measures proposed by the Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan, to implement a housing-led approach to homelessness.
The measures approved by Government follow on from the recommendations of the Homelessness Oversight Group which presented its first report to the minister in December.
Minister O’Sullivan said, “There was full support among Cabinet colleagues today for the proposals I brought to Cabinet. There has been considerable pressure on homelessness services in recent months and it is vital that we bring a very focused approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.
“I believe that long-term homelessness can be eliminated by 2016. To achieve that goal it is vital to source a steady supply of suitable permanent accommodation. That is an essential part of a housing-led approach to homelessness. We will now put in place a practical plan to access this accommodation and support people in new tenancies. This will result in the closure of expensive private emergency accommodation beds that are extensively used at present,” she said.
Among the initiatives Minister O’Sullivan brought to Government were:
The establishment of a Homelessness Policy Implementation Team charged with achieving the Government objective of ending long-term homelessness by 2016;
This team will consist of Assistant Secretaries from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Social Protection, the HSE’s Director of Primary Care, the Dublin City Manager and another County/City Manager.
The team will be supported by an implementation unit drawing on relevant expertise from a range of agencies. One of its first tasks o will be the preparation and publication of a structured, practical plan to make the transition from shelter-led to a sustainable housing-led approach.