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How to address homelessness at local level when means and responsibilities are shared or insufficient?

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Presentation given by Daithi Downey, Dublin Homeless Agency, Ireland at a FEANTSA seminar on "Key elements for a successful local homeless strategy: How Europe can support local authorities to …

Presentation given by Daithi Downey, Dublin Homeless Agency, Ireland at a FEANTSA seminar on "Key elements for a successful local homeless strategy: How Europe can support local authorities to improve the fight against homelessness", hosted by the Committee of the Regions, June 2007

Published in: News & Politics

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  • 1. Key Elements for a Successful Local Homeless StrategyHow Europe can support local authorities to improve the fight against homelessness EU Seminar organised by FEANTSA & EU Committee of the Regions Brussels, Friday 1 June 2007 Session 1: Institutional Context
  • 2. Moving on up?How addressing homelessness at the local level can influence national strategy Presented by Mr. Dáithí Downey Deputy Director, Head of Policy & Service Delivery Homeless Agency
  • 3. Background to our story……• Irish economic context: – Tiger Economy (’96 –’01) Economic growth and wealth creation, Asset (housing) and Consumer boom (’02- present), Credit growth (equity withdrawl), Euro zone impact.• Irish social context: – Higher prosperity, deepened inequality, ‘crisis’ in social infrastructure and protection, housing access and affordability• Irish political context – General election 2007 – Social partnership agreement for 10 years: Towards 2016
  • 4. Irish national policy on homelessness• Homelessness – An Integrated Stratey (2000) – Homeless Agency Partnership (2001) – Establishment of 34 Local Homeless Forums (2001)• Homelessness Preventative Strategy (2002) – Inter-agency protocols (e.g. discharge policies and procedures)• Review of Homeless Strategy (2006) – Extensive and in depth stakeholder analysis including service users – Comprehensive suite of recommendations• Revised Government Policy and Strategy (Qtr 4 of 2007) – 5 priority areas: provision of long-term accommodation; appropriate local treatment of homelessness countrywide; case management approach for homeless individuals; improved coordination of capital and revenue funding; and better data on the extent, nature and causes of homelessness.
  • 5. Institutional network for Homeless Agency Partnership Government Cabinet Sub-Committee on Social Inclusion The Cross Departmental Team on Homelessness (Depts. Family & Social Affairs, Environment (chair),National Homelessness Health & Children, Finance, Education & Science,Consultative Committee Community & Rural, also Irish Prison Service and the 2007 Probation and Welfare Service) NGO Statutory Sector • • Irish Prison Service Sector • Education and Training HealthAuthorities •Community & • • Local ServiceWelfare Probation and Exec • FAS Voluntary •Housing Associations
  • 6. Extent of ‘assessed’ homelessness?Counted In, 2005 – Third periodic assessment on homelessness in Dublin conducted as part of the national tri-annual Assessment of Housing Need 1. 2,015 individuals reported being homeless 2. 1,552 adults reported being homeless 3. 19% decrease on number of people reported as homeless between 2002 and 2005
  • 7. National/Local Inter-relations: how is partnership working in Ireland?• Irish Social Partnership model is c. 20yrs old – institutionally and politically established at national level and deployed as local area-based partnerships – Political and administrative focus on inter-agency partnership working at the local level across key areas including: drugs; spatial depreviation and urban regeneration; labour market activation; and local anti-poverty and community development work.• Homeless Agency (HA) Partnership is an example of ‘joined-up government’ at local level that includes the Third sector (NGO)• HA Partnership is more than a straightforward one-to-one partnership arrangement – Composed of many actors operating in and across a complex network of relations
  • 8. Making and managing change within and across partners• Active network management is required to make complex partnerships work• Means active hierarchial steering and process management across the partnership – HA Board, Consultative Forum, Executive and Service Provider Networks• Ability to recognise uncertainty and complexity in decision making: – Institutional (e.g. Irish Cabinet Sub-Comittee on Social Inclusion) – Strategic (e.g. national policy frameworks) – Content (e.g. HA action plan)
  • 9. The realpolitik of making it work• Extent of hierarchial steering (national and local)• Extent of active network management: incentives for actors with differences in power and frames of reference• Negotiating shared goals: perceptions and behaviour of actors is important• Negotiate and agree ‘joined-up thinking’• The win? Agreed aims, actions and timelines for same – the ‘action plan’
  • 10. The ‘win’ of partnership working..Three Homeless Agency Action Plans to date:1. Shaping the Future 2001-20032. Making it Home 2004-20063. A Key to the Door 2007-2010
  • 11. Agreed visionBy 2010, long-term homelessness and the need for people to sleep rough will be eliminated in DublinThe risk of a person or family becoming homeless will be minimal due to effective preventative policies and servicesWhere it does occur, homelessness will be short-term and all people whoare homeless will be assiated into appropriate housing and the realisation of their full potential and rights
  • 12. Agreed strategic aims• Prevent people from becoming homeless• Provide effective services in each local area to address the acciommodation, housing and health needs of people in that area• Provide long-term housing, with appropriate supports as required for people who are homeless
  • 13. Future challenges…• Changing profile and support needs of people experiencing homelessness – (women, families with children, single adult men, migrants, young persons and the elderly)• Improve access to permanent long-term housing and deliver new social housing stock• Access to mainstream primary healthcare, in particular mental health and addiction services• Effective prevention of homelessness• Delivery mechanisms – funding regime and agency function
  • 14. Local impacts nationally…internationally?• Key Homeless Agency milestones achieved since 2000 – – Building confidence in the Vision for 2010 – Re-inforced importance of hierarchial steering and active network and process management within HA Partnership – Continued political support and resource allocation• Homeless Agency action plan to 2010 – Example of best-practices locally that can be adopted nationally – New National Homeless Policy and Strategy (in 2007)• Role of EU to support local actors? – Hierarchial steering required from EU on homelessness – Supra-national national local – Example: EU typology of homelessness and housing exclusion – ETHOS model.