The purpose of the Homelessness Programme is to enable an integrative, collaborative approach to implementing Housing First across Ireland. Those with lived experience of homelessness are at the centre of the process.

  • The Homelessness programme is being implemented through an integrated approach by the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government; Local Authorities (LA); the Department of Health; the HSE; and Genio.

  • This is in line with the ‘Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’ (Department of Housing, 2016).

  • The aim of the programme is to develop and improve wrap around health supports in ‘housing first’ tenancies and address the complex health needs of the ‘housing first’ participants.

There are three key strands to the programme:

  1. Supporting 124 additional Housing First tenancies in Cork, Limerick, Galway and the South-East region. Funding and support has been allocated through an application and review process
  2. Exploring whether the existing ‘housing first’ initiative in Dublin requires additional integration and enhancement of health supports. As part of this process, an evaluation of the national implementation of Housing First in Ireland has been awarded through a public procurement process.
  3. Improving integrated pathways and joint working through pilot implementation of a Dublin-wide homeless hospital discharge policy and enhanced screening and referral processes for housing first tenancies.

What is Housing First?

  • 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.
  • Client choice is a central guiding principle of the Housing First programme.
  • ‘Housing first’ emphasises securing tenancy for individuals and then providing them with a range of supports to help them maintain their tenancy.
  • This is a very person-centred approach which focuses on drawing on available mainstream resources and supports within society and enabling people to lead self-determined lives.
  • This contrasts with approaches that offer emergency, short-term solutions and that emphasise getting people ‘accommodation ready’.

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