After extensive consultation, The Housing Executive has published its new homelessness strategy 2022-2027, Ending Homelessness Together.
Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, joined Housing Executive Chief Executive Grainia Long and Homeless Connect Chief Executive Nicola McCrudden to officially launch the strategy at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
Grainia Long, Chief Executive at the Housing Executive, said; “I‘m delighted to launch our new Homelessness Strategy.
“Three key objectives underpin our future work and the first is prioritising homelessness prevention – we want to see a step-change in homelessness prevention – to stop people experiencing homeless.
“Secondly, we will address homelessness by providing settled, appropriate accommodation and assistance and the third objective is supporting customers to transition from homelessness into settled accommodation.
“Covid-19 proves challenges may emerge unexpectedly and we have taken feedback from our partners which has shown the necessity for plans to evolve, based on experienced evidence, emerging pressures and new priorities.
“A Year 1 Action Plan is being published alongside the strategy, so once funding is confirmed for next year the delivery of strategic priorities can be immediate.
“We make the commitment to raising the profile of homelessness and emphasising the impact funding can have in providing vital help to those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.”
On the consultation process that led to the development of the new strategy, Ms Long said; “This really was about ending homelessness together and we had an extensive consultation process.
“A range of stakeholders took part, including the Central Homelessness Forum and the Local Area Homelessness Groups that are in place across Northern Ireland.
“Workshops were held over a period of ten months, with over 70 practitioners from a range of organisations guiding our strategic development.
“A huge debt of thanks goes to the homeless sector organisations for the sincere and sustained way they engaged with us to help form the backbone of this new strategy.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “We must all work together to end homelessness.
“I want to prevent homelessness, and where it does occur, to support people out of it as soon as possible and ensure it does not recur.
“This Strategy strikes the right balance between homelessness prevention and securing suitable accommodation and support for those to transition from homelessness into settled accommodation.”
Nicola McCrudden, Chief Executive Officer for Homeless Connect, said; “Homeless Connect warmly welcomes the publication of the 2022-2027 Homelessness Strategy.
“We believe the strategy charts a positive way forward. If the strategy is effectively implemented, it will help to prevent and reduce homelessness here.
Alongside our members, we positively engaged in the consultation process conducted by the Housing Executive.
“We commend the Housing Executive for taking on board the feedback of the sector in the development of this strategy.
Homelessness can have devastating consequences for those who experience it in terms of their health and wellbeing.
“Access to secure and adequate housing is a human right for everyone who lives here. No-one should feel that they have nowhere to call home.
The level of homelessness we have here is not inevitable. With the right policy and well-planned investment, homelessness can be prevented and reduced.
We and our members look forward to working with the Housing Executive and other statutory bodies over the life of the strategy to strive to see the vision of ending homelessness together become a reality.”
You can download a copy of Ending Homelessness Together, and the Year 1 Action Plan, here at the Housing Executive website.