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Written Answers. - Homelessness Strategy.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 444. Mr. Allen Information on Bernard Allen Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if he will make a statement on his commitment to the Simon Community that he was committed to setting specific social housing and homelessness targets following the 2002 detailed survey of needs which stands at 5,234 in 1999 which was a doubling of the 1996 figures. [23303/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen The Government's commitments in relation to homelessness are [314] contained in An Agreed Programme for Government which issued in June 2002. These are: to ensure that the comprehensive homelessness strategies now in place are implemented; that homelessness, and rough sleeping in particular, is tackled in a co-ordinated manner in all parts of the country; and, in the context of the implementation of the revised national anti-poverty strategy, that by the end of 2004 sufficient and appropriate emergency accommodation is available to rough sleepers in conjunction with appropriate outreach services to enable them to access it.

The issue of setting realistic targets in relation to homelessness is important in order to ensure that our efforts in providing resources and services yield positive results. A comprehensive data collection system is essential to set realistic targets and to monitor results. To this end the Homeless Agency is, with the support of my Department, currently piloting the LINK system with a number of service providers including those in the voluntary sector. This system tracks each individual person presenting as homeless to any of these service providers and this will allow a profile of people using homeless services to be built up. It is intended that the system will be extended to all homeless services in the Dublin area. Similar improvements to data collection and analysis on homelessness are being considered in other local authority areas where there are a significant number of homeless persons. The issue of improved data collection will also be addressed as part of the development of an integrated IT package for housing for all local authorities.

The cross-departmental team on homelessness is examining how best to evaluate the homeless strategies and the local action plans and I intend that the issue of targets will also be addressed in the context of this evaluation.

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