Lenihan approves Health Board plans to combat Youth Homelessness
The Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan T.D. today (1st August, 2002) announced that he has given approval to the health boards to begin the implementation of their plans to combat youth homelessness.
As part of the implementation of the Youth Homeless Strategy, which was launched in October 2001, the health boards were asked to prepare plans outlining the measures they would take to implement the strategy in their areas. These implementation plans have now been approved by Minister Lenihan.
“I am delighted that the health boards have given priority to the implementation of the Youth Homeless Strategy,” the Minister said.
“Homelessness is one of the most visible signs of social deprivation and we now know that there are many factors which lead young people in particular to becoming homeless. It is important, therefore, that we take an integrated approach in tackling this problem. In this regard I am pleased to see that a key element in the health board plans is the establishment of a Youth Homeless Services Forum within their regions. The fora will include representatives of the local authorities, the education sector, the Gardaí and the voluntary providers” the Minister continued.
The goal of the Youth Homeless Strategy is to reduce and if possible eliminate youth homelessness through preventative strategies and where a child becomes homeless to ensure that he/she benefits from a comprehensive range of services aimed at re-integrating him/her into his/her community as quickly as possible.
“The health board plans are an essential part of achieving this goal” Minister Lenihan said “and as a sign of this Government´s commitment to the strategy funding of €5 million is being made available to the boards in 2002 to implement their plans.”
This brings to approximately €17 million the amount invested in youth homelessness services since 1997. This funding has increased the number of emergency and longer-term accommodation and specialist provision for young homeless people in Dublin, as well as expanded services in Cork and Limerick.
“I will continue to work with the National Children´s Office, the relevant Government Departments, statutory agencies and voluntary agencies with a view to achieving the objectives set out in the strategy” the Minister concluded.