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Additional funding for homelessness services in Belfast

Published: Wed, 12 Mar 2014
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Donald Hoodless, Chair NIHE, Siobhan McCauley NIHE, Sandra Moore Welcome Centre & John McPeake NIHE Chief Executive
Welcome additional funding
The Housing Executive has announced an additional £400k funding for homelessness services in Belfast.
The housing support services provided by the Welcome Organisation which have helped over 900 homeless individuals in Belfast in the last year have been expanded.
Commenting on the Welcome Centre investment, Housing Minister Nelson McCausland said: “The services provided by the Welcome Centre to those who find themselves homeless in Belfast offer a powerful lifeline to some of the most vulnerable in our society. The Welcome Centre staff are to be commended for their efforts to maintain their good work under the circumstances, following the destruction of their premises by fire at the beginning of last year.
"Their new premises have been fitted out to the highest standards to allow the Welcome Centre to provide food, showers, clothes, warmth and shelter and additional support services – ranging from access to health care, benefits and housing advice.
“The Housing Executive’s Homelessness Strategy places great emphasis on stopping repeat homelessness and the support provided by the Welcome Centre will be vital in achieving this. I want to wish the Welcome Centre every success with their new facilities and I have no doubt their new premises will enhance the services they provide to the homeless in the province.”
Making the announcement on the additional funding during a visit by members of the Board of the Housing Executive to the Welcome Organisation, Donald Hoodless, Chairman explained:
“Homelessness continues to be a significant challenge in Northern Ireland and a problem that affects many. There are a range of reasons for homelessness and the effects can impact on individuals for many years and often go beyond the need for accommodation. No one organisation can address these issues in isolation.
“We have been working with and funding the Welcome Organisation for ten years. Located in Belfast, the Organisation provides street outreach services, drop-in centre facilities, support services and an accommodation unit for single females.  Its service users are some of the most vulnerable homeless people and it assists them to move off the street and progress towards independent living.  Demand for their services has been increasing annually, hence the need to expand their services.
“The additional funding has allowed the Welcome Organisation to extend their Drop –In and Street Outreach services as well as deliver a flexible and responsive support service to clients who have complex and multiple needs.  These services will assist in stopping the cycle of repeat homelessness by ensuring access to support to those who are vulnerable either at the Drop-In Centre or by home visits.
“This is one of a range of measures we have taken to respond to homelessness and deliver our homelessness strategy. Through our Supporting People programme we support temporary accommodation projects and a network of support services aimed at sustaining tenancies and preventing homelessness. Our work with the Welcome Organisation is an excellent example of organisations working together to deliver the services required to help people  who find themselves homeless. This will provide the foundation to allow individuals to make the choices required to play a full part in society.”
Sandra Moore, Director of the Welcome Organisation said: “ The Welcome Organisation has been meeting the needs of Belfast’s homeless community for over 17 years now. We have continually developed services in response to the changing needs presenting.
"Having relocated our drop-in service, which is the hub of our various programmes we are now in a position to broaden the services we can offer. In today’s housing environment it is critical that those who move on from homelessness are supported to sustain independent living and  prevent the trauma of homelessness.
“The Housing Executive has been very supportive of the Organisation’s work over the last decade and we are exceptionally grateful for its continued support which includes this additional funding, which assists us to deliver appropriate and quality services to the some 1,000 individuals who present to out drop-in every year."