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State’s plans to deal with homeless crisis to be announced today

The Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness will be launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, along with Housing Minister Simon Coveney and other members of Cabinet later today.

The Department of Health is to provide an extra €2m in funding for the HSE in 2016 for primary care, mental health and addiction services for people who are homeless with the figure to be trebled to €6m in 2017 and also in 2018.

In July, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney announced a six-year action plan to tackle homelessness and promised to end the use of hotel and B&Bs for emergency accommodation by the middle of next year.

It comes as new figures released this week show that more than 2,000 children are living in emergency accommodation.

Minister Coveney will also provide more details about the locations of the 1,500 rapid-build housing units to be built by 2018 and a progress report on the plan to ask the Housing Agency to acquire 1,600 vacant properties.

Local TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone is due to outline her plans to help the 40 young people who leave State care every year.

It is planned that they will each be assigned a social worker and the Government will work with housing bodies to provide them with accommodation.

The details that emerge today will be scrutinised very closely, to ensure the Government’s promises can and are being delivered.

Earlier this week the Simon Community said that homeless figures in Dublin were at an all-time high with 168 people sleeping rough on Monday night.

The charity counted a 32% rise in rough sleepers last year even though 195 new emergency beds have been provided in the capital since December 2014.