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A further €10 million in funding for more Family Hubs is being ring-fenced, as demand arises from Local Authorities, to be drawn down this year. This is in addition to funding announcements for Family Hubs in June.

 

        A Homeless Inter-Agency Group is to be established immediately to deliver homeless services in a coherent and joined-up way between the relevant departments and agencies

 

- Chaired by a former Secretary General

 

- Ensure transparency & delivery of the various funding streams from departments and agencies

 

- Coordinate with the Department of Health and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs, and the HSE and Tusla in particular, to increase health supports in emergency accommodation and services and supports for families and children that are homeless

 

 

        Minister Harris is providing €1.5m this year to improve homeless health supports and services, which will be increased next year. Primary care, mental health & addiction services for emergency accommodation facilities will be extended with the objective of it being available in more facilities in 2017 and 2018. Community mental health services and supports teams will engage with homeless actions teams to improve outcomes for persons who are homeless and have mental health issues. Multi-disciplinary teams (addiction, mental health and primary care) will be part of housing-first initiatives for individuals in Dublin and other main urban areas.

 

 

        Minister Harris plans to increase his department’s annual social inclusion budget for homelessness to €36 million in 2018. This amounts to an increase of some 20% since 2015.  In conjunction with the new national misuse strategy, “Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery”, this will support a range of new actions to increase the range of addiction services available to homeless persons, including additional detox/step down facilities. 

 

 

        Landlords, when issuing a Notice of Termination to a tenant will be required to notify the RTB. The RTB will write to each tenant providing them with advice and guidance, including the name and contact details of the relevant local authority officials to contact if they are having difficulty in accessing alternative accommodation. This will facilitate a risk-based targeting of tenancy sustainment efforts and early responses to prevent homelessness, and provide for the development of more proactive LA actions thanks to direct sharing of data.

 

 

        The new inter-agency group will roll-out and oversee a targeted national awareness campaign for homelessness prevention, promoting available services, including the Tenancy Protection Service. (This will include using online and digital channels to prevent homelessness for those who are not yet at a point of crisis that would require phone or face to face advice)

 

 

        Homeless HAP supports will continue to be used as an intervention and prevention tool to allow tenants to remain in their tenancies where possible. The HAP Place Finder Service is being rolled out nationally to each of the 31 local authorities to target HAP supported rental properties for households in emergency accommodation. Place Finders assist in finding suitable accommodation and assisting with the deposit and first month’s rent. Additional people are being allocated to the Place Finder Services in Dublin.

 

 

        A homeless prevention strategy for non-nationals without entitlements (Habitual Residence Conditions) will be jointly developed by the Departments of Housing, Justice, and Social Protection.

 

 

        For those in mortgage arrears, a new Mortgage to Rent scheme is coming and will be announced before the end of the month.

 

 

        The Dublin Region Homeless Executive will appoint a Director of Housing First, with specialist expertise, and Housing First will be expanded to the other main urban areas. Each of the Dublin Local Authorities will be given a specific Housing First target and an additional 100 Housing First places will be provided outside of Dublin.  Local Authorities will coordinate with Housing Bodies to build more one-bed homes for individuals and those under Housing First programmes

 

 

        Homeless families in Dublin wishing to move to locations outside Dublin will be facilitated where possible. The Place Finder Service in each local authority will assist these homeless households who wish to relocate to access a suitable property, as well as providing them with advice and support in establishing their new lives in a different local authority area. This will require cross agency and local authority cooperation and will be part of a broader rural regeneration programme, under the National Development Plan.

 

 

        Subject to extenuating circumstances, the new inter-agency group will implement a “first in, first out” policy  across the homeless services so that those longest in emergency accommodation and families with medical or particular needs are prioritised for transition

 

 

        The issue of refusals of reasonable offers of accommodation by those in emergency accommodation will be urgently examined with a view to a consistent approach to such refusals being implemented nationally.

 

 

        New funding of €350,000 is being provided to NGO’s delivering services on behalf of the State to appoint Exit Co-Ordinators to support those exiting homeless services and to report on exit progress on a monthly basis to the DRHE.

 

 

        The DRHE is being restructured to deliver more services directly, working with the new inter-agency group, and focussing in a targeted manner on prevention, services and exits. It will also expand to include surrounding local authorities.

 

 

        Change in social house building policy – budget is being redirected away from acquisitions and in to direct build programmes for local authorities and housing bodies.

 

 

        As a result, the current target for 2018 of c.3000 newly built homes will increase by almost 30% to c.3800. That’s 800 new social housing homes to be built next year. When combined with homes to be delivered from private sites through Part V, and including old social housing stock that is being re-furbished in to use (voids), c.5000 new social housing homes will be delivered in 2018.

 

 

        As a result of this policy shift, this trend will continue across the current capital plan so that more than 20,000 new social housing homes will be built directly by local authorities and housing bodies over the lifetime of the capital plan. (This is before we include new houses built under Part V, which are also built for social housing, and new properties coming back in to use through the voids programme, bringing to over 30,000 the number of new social homes that will be constructed.).

 

 

        The Government is committed to further increasing the number of new homes which will be built as part of the State Social Housing Build Programme. In the context of Budget 2018, discussions are ongoing with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and additional funding will be made available for social housing purposes and will be finalised in the context of the Budget. 

 

 

        Minister of State English will lead a new delivery team in his Department working with local authorities and approved housing bodies.
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