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Government commits to ending homelessness by 2016

The ambitious plans were launched by Junior Minister Jan O’Sullivan earlier today.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT HAS tabled proposals to end long-term homelessness by 2016.

“Homelessness is an affront to every value that we assign to the concept of citizenship,” junior minister with responsibility for housing Jan O’Sullivan said today at the launch of the government’s Homelessness Policy Statement.

“In a real republic there is an onus on us all to ensure that all citizens have a place they can call home.”

She said the coalition had set 2016 as the target date to end all long-term homelessness across the country, noting the date coincided with the 1916 Rising centenary.

O’Sullivan explained that her “housing-led” philosophy is at the centre of policy in the area as it provides “better outcomes for people”.

“The idea behind the policy is that people are provided with long-term, stable housing as early as possible. It moves away from the traditional ‘staircase’ model which sees individuals and families move between various stages, including emergency accommodation, before eventually securing an appropriate place.”

This approach allows those affected break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, according to policy makers.

“By moving away from over-reliance on expensive emergency accommodation the “housing-led” strategy can also provide better value for the significant amount of public money invested in homeless services.”

The dignity and equality of people has always been a fundamental political principle for me.  I strive, in all my political activity, to have that principle at the heart of my thinking, and this is particularly true when dealing with homelessness.  The challenge we have set in this Policy Statement is ambitious, and I look forward to working with all partners in the sector to ensuring that we achieve our goal.

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Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan and Assistant Secretary Michael Layde at today’s launch. (Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

The policy statement has been welcomed by the Peter McVerry Trust, a charity focused on reducing homelessness in Ireland.

CEO Pat Doyle said the group would be working closely with the new oversight committee. He said they support the emphasis on the housing-led approach and the “strong prevention strategy”.

He revealed that about eight new people are presenting as homeless in Dublin every day.

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