Local Authority Response to Rough Sleeping in the Dublin Region

The four Dublin local authorities continue to be concerned about rough sleeping in the Dublin region. The prevention of homelessness and eliminating the need to sleep rough remains the priority for the Dublin local authorities.
The robust and consistent method of enumerating rough sleeping in Dublin, remains, the official annual rough sleeper counts in April/November, whereby the same methodology is applied to all counts and counts are conducted by trained staff from within statutory and voluntary homeless services. The verified figure from the most recent count in April confirms that there were 127 individuals identified as sleeping rough.
The critical issue in relation to addressing homelessness in the Dublin region is housing supply. It is widely recognised that there are very significant constraints in both the private rental sector and in relation to social housing supply.
Central Government, the Dublin local authorities and  our partners in both the voluntary and statutory sector recognise and are committed to addressing homelessness. The National Homeless Implementation Plan and our regional action plan outline the need to ringfence housing supply for homeless households. The Construction Strategy is critical as the return to build remains the imperative to address this.
The Dublin City Council Central Placement Service (who also operate the FREEPHONE placement service) and the assessment and placement services in the other Dublin local authorities are under severe pressure to meet presenting need in the Dublin region and are working tirelessly to ensure that sleeping rough can be avoided.
The following are key actions in place to address rough sleeping and presentation to homeless services across the four Dublin local authorities and are being implemented by both voluntary and statutory partners in accordance with government strategy and our regional action plan, this will  have direct impact in relation to people experiencing rough sleeping and people in emergency accommodation.
These actions are as follows:
  1. There is a target of providing 1100 tenancies in the Dublin region in 2014 , it is noted that the Dublin local authorities are providing social housing to households, as is their policy under the scheme of social housing allocations. 793 persons were supported out of homelessness  in 2013 and back into independent living.
  2. Building on the success of a Housing First pilot demonstration project, which has successfully housed 35 participants , with a history of chronic and enduring rough sleeping, the local authorities are currently tendering for a housing first service, which has a target of providing housing with wrap around support of a minimum of 140 tenancies for people assessed as entrenched rough sleepers with complex housing, social and health care needs.
  3. Increasing prioritisation of homeless households through the local authority social housing allocation process and reducing the allocations of transfer cases.
  4. Further ring fencing accommodation for homeless households through engagements with NAMA, which have been very positive heretofore.
  5. Negotiation with mainstream banking institutions regarding leasing opportunities.
  6. Accelerated return of void properties back into use depending on the resources available. This will involve close collaborative working between the local authorities and Associated Housing Bodies.
It is also recognised that there needs to be emergency accommodation in the Dublin region
  1. 80 new emergency beds to be in place by end September 2014 to respond to those rough sleeping. This is in addition to the current emergency bed capacity or accommodation units provided for  1,396 adult individuals (31st May 2014)
  2.  Dublin Region Homeless Executive and the Dublin local authorities are negotiating accommodation for families with a minimum of 70 units to be made available.
  3.  A Prevention Protocol is in place with the Dublin local authorities, the Department of Social Protection and Threshold to provide emergency assistance to families at risk of homeless due to income inadequacy. This is one element of a robust public awareness campaign, that is currently being implemented across the Dublin region to support families who are at risk of homelessness. Families who are worried about paying their rent and losing their homes should call 1800 454 454 immediately for advice and support.
  4.  The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) confirms there are a total of 143 families with dependent children residing in hotels in Dublin in lieu of access to suitable temporary emergency accommodation. The  Children and Families Homeless Action Team have been expanded to respond to these families and to work to assist to move them back into independent living.
  5.  Housing Assistance Payment Pilot – the Dublin region expects to have rolled out a Housing Assistance Payment Pilot catering for homeless households or households at risk of homelessness.
For further clarification contact:
Lisa Kelleher
Head of Communications & Training
Dublin Region Homeless Executive