The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has launched the Youth Homelessness Strategy 2023-2025. The first Youth Homelessness Strategy in two decades, it sets out 27 distinct actions to prevent young people entering homelessness, to improve the experiences of young people in emergency accommodation and to assist young people to exit homelessness.
The most recent monthly Homeless report, published in respect of September 2022, showed that 1,263 (17%) of adults accessing Emergency Accommodation were aged 18-24. The Strategy recognises that, while it is an absolute priority to both prevent young people from becoming homeless in the first instance and to ensure prompt exits for those who are in emergency accommodation, consideration must also be given to improving the experiences of young people currently accessing homeless services.
The Strategy’s key measures include:
- Specific actions to help each of the six cohorts identified as being particularly at risk of becoming homeless and who are disproportionately represented in the young homeless population (people who have left formal care settings; disabled people; young parents; members of the Traveller Community; members of the LGBTI+ community; young people leaving prison).
- Development and implementation of homelessness prevention programmes.
- Development of a framework for specific assessments for young people presenting to services in order to identify supports required.
- Establishment of additional dedicated emergency accommodation for young people that promotes an inclusive ethos.
- Development of a pilot model of a housing-led intervention for young people: Supported Housing for Youth.
Designed in line with commitments in the Programme for Government and Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan to 2030, the Strategy adopts a whole-of-Government approach to tackling youth homelessness. It brings together a multitude of key stakeholders who will play a vital role in addressing the fundamental issues.
Recognising the importance of capturing a wide range of views to inform the Strategy, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage held a number of consultations in the first half of 2022. This included a public consultation, consultation with local authorities, and direct consultations with young people with experiences of homelessness.
Launching the new strategy at the Custom House, Minister O’Brien said, “this Youth Homelessness Strategy, the first in over twenty years, is an important action in the Government’s work to eradicate homelessness. Last year on behalf of the Irish Government I signed a European Declaration on combatting homelessness and this Strategy will help us to deliver on that commitment.”
“The rise in numbers of young people experiencing homelessness in recent years is very concerning. The Strategy acknowledges the importance of both appropriate accommodation for all young people and the provision of necessary supports, as required. Addressing youth homelessness is one of the key aims set out in Housing for All. I am fully focused on implementation of this Strategy. The scale of this Strategy is ambitious but, through collaboration with all stakeholders, the objectives will become a reality.”
Welcoming the strategy on behalf of the Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness, Adam Spollen of Focus Ireland said, “the Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness welcomes the publication of the Youth Homelessness Strategy as a starting point from which we can work together to end youth homelessness in the coming years. The Coalition, which brings together the leading youth organisations and homeless NGOs with dedicated youth services, has campaigned for a national strategy on youth homelessness since 2017.”
“We as a Coalition are happy to work together with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; Tusla; the HSE and local authorities to move this Strategy forward. The cooperation of stakeholders in an integrated approach is essential to achieve the aims of this Strategy.”