The Homelessness programme has been developed in line with government policy[1], which emphasises the need to focus on securing tenancies for individuals who experience chronic or episodic homelessness. The programme took an integrated approach and has been implemented through the Service Reform Fund by the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government; the Department of Health; Local Authorities; the HSE and Genio. 

The programme took a 'Housing First' approach, which emphasised securing stable, long-term homes for people along with a range of tailored supports to help them maintain their tenancy. Evidence from Ireland and abroad demonstrates that the ‘housing first’ approach is the most effective way to address the needs of people who are long-term homeless and is particularly suited to homeless people who have mental health and/or addiction issues. This contrasts with traditional approaches that offer emergency, short-term solutions and that emphasise getting people ‘accommodation ready’. The Housing First programme provided funding and support for the rollout of the programme in four urban areas. An independent evaluation of the programme has been completed and a Housing First Training Manual for Ireland has been developed. A Community of Practice (CoP) has been established for front line staff to come together to share learning experiences. 

The homelessness programme is also focussed on improving integrated pathways between hospitals and community supports. This is being undertaken through a pilot implementation of a Dublin-wide homeless hospital discharge policy with enhanced screening and referral processes for housing first tenancies.

In 2021 a programme to enchance and integrate health supports for Housing First participants commenced in Dublin. This programme focuses on existing health services and will work towards integrating those services, enhancing access to appropriate supports and address health and social needs.

For the duration of the SRF Homelessness programme Action Research was also conducted.  

As of March 2022, The Housing Agency will house the National Directorate of Housing First which will comprise of the National Director and support team.

[1] Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, 2016). Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018 - 2021 (Government of Ireland, 2018).

Complex Systems Change

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