Minister O’Brien to sign European declaration on combatting homelessness

Minister O’Brien has received Cabinet support to sign a European Declaration on combatting homelessness.

The signing of the Declaration will coincide with the launch on Monday (21 June) in Lisbon of a new structure, the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness, which Minister O’Brien will attend virtually. This will provide a means for EU Member States, the European Institutions and stakeholder bodies to work together in addressing homelessness. The Declaration commits all signatories to working towards the ending of homelessness by 2030. It is the first time such a structure has been put in place at a European level to deal with homelessness.

In signing the Declaration, Ireland is agreeing to:

  • promote the prevention of homelessness, access to permanent housing and the provision of enabling support services to the homeless;
  • welcome the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of these policy measures;
  • support our policy measures with adequate funding and, when appropriate, make use of EU funding as a lever to improve the way we address homelessness;
  • share our good practices in combatting homelessness.

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “I am very glad to be signing the Declaration and for Ireland to be a member of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness.

“While signing a declaration is not a silver bullet by any means, the collaboration of EU member States with the shared goal of ending homelessness is to be welcomed.

“Over the past year in Ireland progress has been made in reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness, which has fallen by 13%. This progress is especially clear with family homelessness which has thankfully fallen by almost a third but despite the welcome reductions the number of people experiencing homelessness in Ireland remains far too high and is of major concern to me.

“The progress that has been made has been achieved thanks to the collective efforts of our NGOs working in collaborative partnership with local authorities and my Department and there is no shortage of will or determination to deal with the issue of homelessness.

“The European Platform will add value to the work already being undertaken by my Department which will attend meetings and participate in knowledge sharing.

“As Minister I will use all tools at my disposal to support those experiencing homelessness, to help prevent entries into homelessness and to secure successful exits from homelessness,” he concluded.