The Minister for Housing & Planning, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, TD, and the Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health & Older People, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, TD, published the National Implementation Framework

The Minister for Housing & Planning, Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, TD, and the Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health & Older People, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, TD, today [20th July 2012] published the National Implementation Framework to support the Government’s National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability, 2011–2016. The Implementation Framework was developed by an Implementation Planning Group, chaired by the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, in conjunction with the Department of Health, along with representatives from the HSE, Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, City & County Managers’ Association and the Housing Agency.

In launching the Framework, Minister O’Sullivan said “the development of the Implementation Framework represents a continuation of the successful collaborative approach employed between my Department and the Department of Health in addressing the housing and related support needs of people with disabilities”.

The Implementation Framework sets out a range of priority actions to support people with disabilities to live in communities as independently as possible, by providing mainstream assessment of housing need and appropriate housing solutions. Minister O’Sullivan continued “this approach will be two fold – it will support people currently living in communities to access and maintain housing appropriate to their needs and underpinned by the delivery of related supports. Secondly, it puts the mechanism in place to support the transitioning of people from institutional care to more independent living within socially inclusive communities”.

The Implementation Framework reflects the recommendations of the Government’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change and the Report of the Congregated Settings Working Group in relation to the phased movement, over the next 7 years, of almost 5,000 people with intellectual, physical and mental health disabilities from institutions to community living. Referring to the funding requirements to support this ambitious transitioning programme, Minister Lynch said “despite the extremely difficult economic conditions, I am very pleased to announce that initial funding of €1 million will be made available in 2013 to support the commencement of the transitioning programme”. The funding, which will be ring fenced to meet the housing needs of people leaving institutions in 2013, will enable housing authorities to provide up to 150 new homes in the community for people with disabilities. These units will be additional to the overall social housing supports which are expected to be delivered through all supply mechanisms in 2013.

Minister Lynch continued “In order to maintain progress on the transitioning programme, it is critical that sustainable funding resources are identified, and informed by the progress in 2013, the Health sector will explore options to release necessary funding. This will be the subject of ongoing discussions between my Department and the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government”.

The Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency will play a key role in overseeing the rollout of the Implementation Framework and ensuring uniformity of approach at local level. A dedicated Housing Subgroup is being established in order to develop guidance and provide advice for local authorities on the implementation of priority actions.

The Implementation Framework will be subject to a robust monitoring and reporting regime with annual progress reports to be submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy in conjunction with regular Committee updates. Minister O’Sullivan concluded “I have recently established an Implementation Monitoring Group which will be charged with overseeing progress on implementation. This group will also play a vital role in identifying and addressing any challenges that may arise, including through the review of specific actions, as appropriate”.

The Implementation Framework is available on the websites of the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government, www.environ.ie and the Department of Health at the following link www.dohc.ie/publications/housing_strategy_implementation.html

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