Latest Homelessness Strategy for Northern Ireland is published
Published: Tue, 1 May 2012
We have just published our new strategy to tackle homelessness in Northern Ireland.
The Homelessness Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012 – 2017 aims to eliminate long term homelessness and rough sleeping across Northern Ireland by 2020.
The new integrated approach includes a range of initiatives from support services to prevent homelessness to the introduction of a province-wide private rented sector access scheme.
Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland said: “Homelessness is more than just not having a roof over one’s head. It has knock on effects on the health, financial and social well being of many in our society. Today’s strategy sets out very clear objectives on how we can move forward to tackle the issue and my department will work in partnership with the Housing Executive to achieve these goals.”
Our Chairman Brian Rowntree explained, “The Minister and the Department for Social Development recognise these challenges and are currently developing a new Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland. Everyone who works in the housing sector is agreed that we need to develop ways on dealing with all the housing issues facing households in Northern Ireland.
“The Housing Executive has a statutory responsibility for responding to homelessness. In 2002 we published our first homelessness strategy and with the introduction of Supporting People in 2003 substantial progress has been achieved. This is due, in no small measure, to the many examples of joint working involving the Housing Executive, the Department for Social Development our statutory and voluntary sector partners. “
“However, at this time of economic uncertainty and the financial environment in which all services are operating we need to be more creative and to consider new approaches on how to respond to homelessness.
“Despite the progress made, homelessness continues to be a significant challenge in Northern Ireland and a problem that afflicts the lives of many of our citizens. There are numerous reasons for homelessness and the effects of homelessness impact on individual lives not just on their accommodation needs, but also on their health, finances and social well being.
“For this reason, no one organisation or agency can address these issues in isolation. There is now a greater need to respond to homelessness in a coordinated multi agency approach. The new strategy therefore focuses on all the relevant organisations working together to deliver housing, employment, health, financial support and welfare services to those who experience homelessness.”
The Housing Executive with our partners in the statutory and voluntary sectors will consider the current European Directive to develop an integrated strategy to respond to and prevent homelessness; and will investigate its applicability to Northern Ireland.
An implementation plan for the strategy will now be developed and progress will be monitored by the Department for Social Development’s Promoting Social Inclusion Partnership.