Health | Winter plan for homeless
To ask the Minister for Health if he will initiate a special winter plan to cater for the homeless or those who find themselves unable to meet the challenges of the winter months for whatever reason in such a way as to minimise the challenges they face; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Supporting individuals and families facing homelessness is a priority for this Government. The Housing for All plan commits to reducing and preventing homelessness and provides detail on how the Government will approach this challenge.
The Department of Health is committed to maintaining and consolidating the enhanced healthcare services provide for people who are homeless during Covid-19.
In 2022, the Department of Health provided €10m in Covid funding to the HSE to maintain public health measures and to consolidate improvements in health services during the pandemic for people who are homeless. Under this funding, a total of 17 initiatives for the homeless population were funded as part of COVID-19 measures. This has included integrated care pathways for people who are homeless with chronic health needs, initiatives that provided temporary emergency accommodation, increased GP capacity at low threshold GP clinics, national social inclusion and public health support, and a number of other projects such as a 7 Day service to include a Homeless Clinical Lead, a Homeless Covid response coordination team who managed the Covid Response for the Winter Plan and a community mobile screening testing service and vaccination service for the homeless population.
In the HSE Winter Preparedness Plan for October 2022 – March 2023, €1.1m has been allocated to the delivery of enhanced services to support people to receive the best possible services to meet their needs. This includes a targeted vaccination programme and development of complex care packages for people who are homeless and other socially excluded groups experiencing severe health inequalities.
I have made the health needs of homeless persons a key priority and, with the Minister for Health, have provided additional resources for this purpose.
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