Dáil Éireann - Volume 344 - 07 July, 1983
Written Answers. - Accommodation for Homeless.
Mr. De Rossa Mr. De Rossa
229. Mr. De Rossa asked the Minister for the Environment if, in view of the statement by the Minister for Health in his written reply to Parliamentary Question No. 255 of 16 February 1983 that responsibility for providing permanent accommodation for homeless people rests with local authorities, he is aware that, according to the report entitled The Case for a Homeless Persons Act which was produced by the Simon Community, many local authorities do not accept such responsibilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Spring) Dick Spring
Minister for the Environment (Mr. Spring): I am aware of the contents of the report to which the Deputy's question refers. The statutory position is that local authorities are obliged to assess the adequacy of the supply of housing in their functional area and to formulate building programmes setting out the works they propose to undertake having regard to the needs of such areas, including the the needs of persons who are unable to provide housing from their own resources. The authorities are required to let housing provided by them in accordance with their statutory schemes of letting priorities which determine how their dwellings may be allocated between the various categories of persons specified in the schemes.
Health boards have responsibility for providing shelter for persons who are unable to provide it for themselves and for whose needs conventional housing accommodation is not available or is unsuitable. As the Minister for Health indicated in reply to Question No. 255 of 16 February, an ad hoc committee representative  of the Departments of Health and the Environment, health boards, and local authorities is at present examining the division of responsibility as between health boards and local authorities for the provision of the different forms of accommodation required to cater for the needs of homeless persons. When the report of the committee is available the recommendations will be considered by both Ministers.
Dáil Éireann 344 Written Answers. Accommodation for Homeless.