Threshold, the national housing charity, today welcomed the findings of a review of the Government’s national homeless strategy which calls for a refocusing of resources on preventing homelessness and on providing longer-term housing. The Review of Implementation of Homeless Strategies, conducted by Fitzpatrick Associates, was launched by the Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Noel Ahern TD, earlier today. Threshold agrees that considerable progress that has been made in reducing the numbers of people sleeping rough and in providing emergency beds, particularly in Dublin, and that long-term housing for homeless people must now become a Government priority.
Threshold also welcomes a recommendation that the Government’s definition of homelessness be revisited and clarified to include the causes, nature and extent of homelessness. For 27 years Threshold has been the only national voluntary organisation working in the area of homelessness prevention through its information, advice and advocacy services in Dublin, Cork and Galway. Threshold works to prevent homelessness in many ways, including challenging threats of eviction, helping people to recover rent deposits and seeking improvements for people living in substandard accommodation. The new, clearer definition of homelessness recommended in the report would acknowledge that people in such circumstances are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Threshold’s Access Housing Unit in Dublin, which helps homeless people to move out of emergency shelters and into the private rented sector, is highlighted in the review as a successful, innovative initiative for sourcing longer-term accommodation for people who are homeless. Since its establishment in 2002, the AHU has helped to move over 400 people out of homelessness. The review states that there is considerable potential for the Access Housing Unit model to be expanded to local authorities around the country.
Patrick Burke, Director of Threshold, said:
“We in Threshold very much welcome the findings of this review and its call for a greater focus on homeless prevention and long-term housing solutions. We hope that additional funding will be available under this revised strategy for Threshold’s advice services to prevent homelessness. Resourcing prevention work provides the best possible outcome for people at risk and represents value for money for the Exchequer.
We are also pleased that the success of Threshold’s Access Housing Unit has been acknowledged in the review. In early January, I wrote to the Directors of Housing in local authorities around the country with a view to replicating the model in their area. We look forward to working in partnership with local authorities to deliver on the national homelessness strategy.”