Government reveals Housing First targets for local authorities around the country

Update: The Government has announced details of plans to extend its 'Housing First' plan - which is aiming to 'reduce and end' rough sleeping and long-term homelessness - from Dublin to the rest of the country.

Ministers said the goal is to provide people with permanent housing as quickly as possible - as well as providing "significant health supports, particularly in the area of addiction and mental health".

More than 660 'permanent and secure' tenancies are set to be provided across the country's 31 local authorities as part of the plan, which involves efforts across both the housing and health ministries.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy explained: "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."

He added: "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."

Latest figures from the Government have shown that just under 10,000 people are in emergency accommodation around the country.

A rough sleeper count in March, meanwhile, showed there were at least 110 people sleeping rough across the Dublin area on the night of the count.

Earlier: Peter McVerry Trust: Govt's Housing First strategy 'a game changer'

The homeless charity, Peter McVerry Trust, has hailed the Government's new Housing First strategy as "a game changer in the State’s response to homelessness".

The strategy was launched at Peter McVerry Trust’s social housing development, St Agatha’s Court, in Dublin by the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

The charity believes that the State-funded expansion of the model beyond Dublin will make a huge impact on homelessness.

Pat Doyle CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said: “The publication today of the national Housing First strategy is a game changer in the response to homelessness in this country.

Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris at the launch today. Pic: Rollingnews.ie

"Housing First is undoubtedly the best possible response to the needs of people who are sleeping rough, long-term shelter users and people with complex needs. Peter McVerry Trust is absolutely delighted that Ireland is set to become a global leader in rolling out Housing First.

“Housing First is built on the right to housing and ensuring that people have intensive wraparound supports to help them keep their homes. Clearly working to address your issues from a stable home with the help of a highly skilled, professional multi-disciplinary team is much more successful than trying to do so from a congregated setting like emergency homeless accommodation or living rough on the streets.”

The Housing First programme is being rolled out to Cork, Galway and Limerick.

Mr Doyle said: "The inclusion of a new rural Housing First programme for the Mid-East region of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow is the first time Housing First will be officially rolled out in non-city environment in Ireland, that scheme will be of huge significance for the rest of the country as it will point to the challenges and benefits of delivering the scheme over a wider area.

“The National Housing First strategy also recognises and proposes the expansion of Housing First to new groups including people leaving the care system and institutions such as prisons."

Mr Doyle said he was very confident that housing units for single people would not now be as difficult to secure as they had been in previous years.

He said: “The success of the Housing First Model is very much dependent on the availability of housing and in particular appropriate housing for single people. In recent years that has been hugely challenging.

"I very much believe that with increased housing output particularly by local authorities, approved housing bodies as well as the ramping up of schemes to tackle vacant homes we can look forward to greater availability of housing to ensure the strategy works.”

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