Housing Minister says new homeless reports highlight "issues that need to be addressed"

A number of recommendations have been made across the two newly-published reports

Housing Minister says new homeless reports highlight "issues that need to be addressed"

Eoghan Murphy. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Housing Minister has said "new actions will be needed" to address homelessness, following the publication of two separate reports on the crisis.

In one report, the Homelessness Inter-Agency Group makes recommendations across 18 areas.

Recommendations in the report include 'urgently' looking at an increased supply of one-bed apartments; introducing measures to increase take-up of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP); and strengthened regulation of the private rental sector, including giving the Residential Tenancies Board powers of investigation.  

The second report is from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, which says there has been a "significant increase in the numbers of households presenting as homeless" over the last year.

It highlights progress made in areas such as reducing the numbers sleeping rough, and a 'dramatic decrease' in the number of additional emergency accommodation units needed for families.

However, the report also states: "It is critical that the resources of the Residential Tenancies Board are kept under review to ensure that they have the capacity to enforce the legal protections for tenants and that the Rent Pressure Zone legislation is implemented with rigour."

It also warns of "challenges in terms of reducing the number of families that enter emergency accommodation" due to some families being reluctant to consider HAP.

It shows that 19% of permanent social housing offers from Dublin City Council were refused by homeless applicants last year - with reasons for refusal including that the housing wasn't in the applicants preferred area, or that it wasn't close to schools.

However, it also found that families are generally spending less time in emergency accommodation.

"Concerns and issues"

Speaking about the DRHE report, Minister Eoghan Murphy said it shows progress is being made.

However, he added: "Of course the value of this report is that it also highlights some concerns and issues that need to be addressed so that we can provide the right supports and interventions to those who need them.

"Clearly, new actions will be needed to make sure that we can find sustainable and successful exits from emergency accommodation for families, individuals, those with long-term support needs, and those whose status in Ireland is uncertain."

The most recent homeless figures show there were 9,652 people in emergency accommodation in April.