New bill introduces an independent inspection regime for emergency accommodation- Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has today introduced the Emergency Homeless Accommodation and Direct Provision Independent Inspection Bill 2018.
The Bill grants the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) the power to inspect all emergency homeless accommodation funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Community and Local Government. It also grants HIQA the power to inspect direct provision centres funded by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“Last July I asked Minister Murphy what steps were being taken by his department to ensure that all emergency accommodation met the highest possible standards. That same month concerns were raised by the Ombudsman for Children about the negative impact of emergency accommodation on the development of children.
“At the time the Minister for Housing assured me that he was working with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to produce a quality standards framework for homeless services. Nearly a year later and there is still no sign of this framework.
“I am also concerned that when the quality standards framework is published it will only apply to voluntary sector emergency accommodation and that it will not be independent.’
“There are nearly 10,000 people living in emergency accommodation and unfortunately the majority of these families will be there for more than six months. As of April 2018 there are 3,689 children calling emergency accommodation home.
“As the homeless problem gets worse there is still no sign of this framework and no urgency from the Minister.
“Similarly the children and families living in direct provision centres would benefit from the introduction of an independent inspection regime. A 2015 report published by HIQA contained the results of inspections carried out by the agency due to concerns raised about the number of children living in direct provision centres who had been referred to Tusla.
“I believe we urgently need to see an independent inspection regime for both of these kinds of facilities rolled out. The Bill I introduced today grants HIQA the power to do so.”