In May 2000, the Irish Government committed to tackling homelessness through the launch of Homelessness – An Integrated Strategy (2000), which aimed to address the range of issues that impact on homelessness nationally, was prepared under the aegis of the Cross Departmental Team on Homelessness, working closely with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Following on from this, the Homeless Preventative Strategy was launched in February 2002 to ensure that preventative initiatives were agreed and implemented, to target at risk groups leaving institutional care.
Each Government department with responsibilities under these strategies was then brought together, as part of the overall approach to coordinate services through the Cross Departmental Team on Homelessness, chaired by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and including the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive. As part of this, 34 local homeless forums, as well as action plans to address homelessness were established across the five city councils and 29 county councils in Ireland, including the four local authorities in Dublin.
The Homeless Agency was established in Dublin in 2001, in response to the higher levels of homelessness experienced in the city than elsewhere in Ireland at that time. It followed on from the former Homeless Initiative, which was established in 1996.
The Vision of the Homeless Agency, guided the work to be completed under each of the action plans. A Key to the Door 2007-2010 is the Homeless Agency’s last action plan. It follows Shaping the Future (2001-2003) and Making it Home (2004-2006). A Key to the Door covered the period from 2007-2010, in order to bring the Agency to the completion of its four-year action plan and its ten-year vision.
The Homeless Agency formally became the Dublin Region Homeless Executive in 2011. It is now responsible for providing support and services to the Dublin Joint Homelessness Consultative Forum and the Statutory Management Group. This service will be provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority, but will adopt a shared service approach across South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council, and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides a statutory structure to address the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness in Ireland. The Act outlines a statutory obligation for local authorities to have an action plan in place and the formation of a Homelessness Consultative Forum and a Statutory Management Group. The Homeless Action Plan Framework for Dublin 2014-2016 is now in place and is being implemented across the four Dublin local authorities.