Minister Coveney’s statement on agreed arrangements for people currently accommodated in Apollo House
Following a meeting between Minister Simon Coveney and representatives of the Home Sweet Home campaign on Friday 6 January 2017, and further contact since, agreement has now been reached to facilitate a transition by the individuals accommodated in Apollo House to alternative accommodation, with the appropriate support services to meet short and long-term needs.
A range of issues related to homelessness and housing, including a focus on the specific needs of the individuals accommodated in Apollo House were also discussed.
The Minister reiterated that homelessness remains a top priority for this Government. He reaffirmed his commitment to the urgent implementation of the actions published in July in the Rebuilding Ireland strategy which commits to funding of €5.35bn to prioritise homelessness and to accelerate the overall supply of housing, in recognition of an accepted housing crisis.
At Friday’s meeting, Minister Coveney confirmed that a sufficient number of emergency beds are now in place to meet the needs of rough sleepers in Dublin. Additional capacity however, through the advancement of two new facilities, will be put in place in the coming months following consultation with a broad range of stakeholders to meet potential future demand. These facilities will include units suitable for single persons and couples and will promote independent living skills. It was also agreed that Dublin City Council would improve community based homeless services and facilities through their local authority office network.
The Minister confirmed that direct input in the provision of new emergency facilities will be sought from both service providers and people who are homeless to ensure provision of the most appropriate facilities possible. For example, it is clear from engagement with homeless people currently in Apollo House that there is a need for extra capacity for couples who are homeless.
The Minister also emphasised the Government’s ongoing commitment to the Housing First approach to homelessness, and to expand the Housing First model in order to move beyond emergency accommodation and to provide people with their own key to a home with appropriate support services.
In the broader social housing discussion, the Minister restated his commitment to end the use of commercial hotels as emergency accommodation for homeless families by mid-year. The commitment by Government to significantly ramp up social housing delivery by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies across the country, through new build, acquisition and bringing vacant properties into use, was also stressed. The Government has committed €5.35 billion to deliver an extra 47,000 social housing units by 2021.
Minister Coveney welcomed today’s resolution and thanked everyone for their positive engagement.
Notes for Editor
What is Housing First?
Housing First is a model for tackling homelessness that originates with Dr Sam Tsemberis and the Pathways to Housing organisation in New York. The Housing First model focuses on the immediate provision of long term/permanent accommodation for the homeless with supports and services subsequently built around the needs of each individual.