The Green Party recognises the success of the Housing First strategy and sees it as fundamental to the elimination of homelessness and rough sleeping in Ireland.

The Green Party recognises the success of 'Housing First' as fundamental to the elimination of homelessness and rough sleeping in Ireland.

Attention must be given to supporting practitioners to implement the Housing First Model. There must be access to adequate and affordable housing, effective coordination between service providers, relevant supports and training for practitioners, and further research conducted for the Irish context. This must be implemented with urgency, along with the extensive conversion of emergency hostel and shelter spaces into supported independent apartments.

We need to better resource flexible preventative services in our communities, and deliver safe, own-door, affordable shelter - stable, permanent homes for all types of households. We need to see housing as more than shelter, but rather as an integrated part of a neighbourhood, and a means to individual, family, and community wellbeing, in order to carry out our responsibilities according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, congregate residential settings such as family hubs, direct provision, homeless hostels, halting sites, and overcrowded housing do not meet best practices that protect vulnerable populations from infection. The Green Party recognises the Officer of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), COVID-19 Guidance ‘Protecting those living in homelessness, by Leilani Farha Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing’, which states:

Housing has become the frontline defence against the coronavirus. Home has rarely been more of a life-or-death situation.

The homeless population especially is a medically high-risk population, disproportionately affected by disease, such as lung cancer and COPD, which increases their susceptibility to Covid-19. A lack of adequate housing increases risk for both this vulnerable population, and the wider population.

Key policy points

Prevent homelessness.

Expand our definition of homelessness by using the European Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion (ETHOS) definition. Expanding the definition using ETHOS would mean the inclusion of the hidden homeless, and a consistent approach by LAs to housing and homelessness criteria and what is considered an emergency situation.

Build adequate affordable housing whose social geography is within integrated neighbourhoods designed or regenerated for wellbeing.

Provide solutions such as rapid rehousing to help those at risk of homelessness to find suitable, stable, long-term housing and to enable them to address other support needs that can contribute to homelessness.

Utilise an inclusion health-based approach to respond to healthcare needs.

Use a person-centred Case Management Approach to address the support needs of individuals and families. Provide Trauma Informed Care where appropriate.

Focus on key affected and underserved populations.

Acknowledge gender and sexuality issues around homelessness, and the need for gender-appropriate accommodation and services.

Evaluate outcomes to ensure policies are working as intended, and to highlight where improvements are needed.

Policy revised: April 2021

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 17

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