Dublin Homelessness Policy
In 2001 the Dubin Homeless Agency was established in cooperation of four local authorities (Dublin City, South Dublin County, Fingal County, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County) and three health authorities. The Homeless Agency was responsible for developing a homeless strategy and for coordinating the implementation of services delivered by the seven stakeholders. In addition to that it was also working closely with the 40 voluntary organisations of Dublin. The Dublin Homeless Agency developed three action plans against homelessness: Shaping the Future 2001-2003, Making it Home 2004-2006 and A Key to the Door 2007-2010. "A Key to the Door" shifted the focus away from emergency services to prevention and housing-led approaches.
In July 2011, in the framework of a reconfiguration of homeless services, which aims to ensure quality of services and progress towards the vision of ending homelessness, the Dublin Homeless Agency was transformed into the Dublin Region Homeless Executive. The DRHE is coordinated by Dublin City Council, the lead authority, in cooperation with South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. It is responsible for supporting the Dublin Joint Homelessness Consultative Forum and the Statutory Management Group through the development of relevant strategies and actions like the rollout of the Pathway Accommodation Support System (an online emergency bed management tool). The practical experiences of stakeholders and service providers (Dublin local authorities, the Dublin Health Service Executive and a number of NGOs), who work directly with service users, will support the work of the DRHE. Representatives of the Dublin Local Authorities and the Health Service Executive are forming the Statutory Management Group, who figures as link between the DRHE and the Consultative Forum and makes recommendations to the Executive and other statutory bodies.
The main targets are: - Eliminating long-term homelessness and the need to sleep rough; - To ensure the provision of information, advice, advocacy, referral and placement services; - To ensure that the housing list and allocation reflects the profile of homeless households in the area; - Increasing Service User Participation; - To address the health and welfare needs of clients; - Put in place initiatives to prevent people from becoming homeless; - Ensure that people who do experience homelessness are given high quality support to address their needs and to support them out of homelessness as soon as possible.
Key words in the Dublin approach
- focus shifted away from emergency provision and onto prevention;
- providing housing specifically for single homeless people and settlement services;
- focusing on each of the four housing authorities in the Dublin area with each making specific commitments within the overall plan.
- The Homeless Agency’s coverage of the four Local Authority areas of Dublin, has encouraged development in terms of the planning and delivery of homeless services.
- The development of five-year social and affordable housing strategies.
- The Homeless Agency, involving the four Dublin local authorities, has refined a survey method (published as "Counted In" 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008) that provides a robust, point-in-time assessment of those using homeless services.
- Homeless services have changed dramatically since the inception of the first action plan and there have been marked improvements in the quality of services for people experiencing homelessness.
- An audit of homeless services in Dublin took place in Spring 2009. This was carried out to determine both the capacity and standard of accommodation in use across the sector. The audit included building quality, suitability and adaptability for use.
- Alongside improvements in quality, homeless services have developed a stronger focus on supporting people to move out of homelessness.
- A new data collection system has been developed by the Homeless Agency in Dublin. The new system logs and tracks clients' activities through different providers. Each person will have a unique identifying number.