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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Home Starter Packs help transition from homelessness

People moving to new accommodation following a period of homelessness are benefitting from a ‘Home Starter Pack’ scheme which provides essential household appliances and hygiene and toiletry items.

Public Health Agency (PHA) funding of £120,000 has enabled more than 330 households to benefit from Home Starter Packs and, for the first time, child-specific bedding for families transitioning from homelessness will also be provided.

More than 2,200 households also received Getting Started boxes which contain basic food items.

The PHA-funded scheme is managed by Homeless Connect, with additional support from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Choice Housing.

Tracey Colgan, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Officer at the PHA, said:

“The move from homelessness to more settled accommodation is a huge step in people’s lives and has a major impact on health and wellbeing. The Home Starter Packs are essential in helping to ensure a good start, or restart, after time without a permanent home and in the current cost of living crisis it also helps alleviate an additional burden. This contributes to the achievement of a successful transition from homelessness to a long-term secure housing outcome.

“Addressing inequalities are a challenge for our society as a whole and this practical support, along with services provided with our partners in housing and homelessness, will improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable in our community and provide assistance to those in greatest need.”

The Home Starter Pack includes bedding, microwave, slow cooker, kettle, toaster, iron and ironing board, cutlery, crockery, cleaning equipment and towels for the kitchen and bathroom. Hygiene packs include essential toiletries. The Getting Started Box includes items such as tea, coffee, long-life milk, cereals, pasta, rice, pasta sauces, beans, soup and fruit juice.

Nicola McCrudden, Chief Executive of Homeless Connect, said:

“At Homeless Connect we want to make a difference to the lives of people who are experiencing homelessness in Northern Ireland. One of the ways we do that is through the Home Starter Pack project which has been running now for five years and we gratefully acknowledge the funding we receive from the PHA to enable us to do this.”

The project helps to reduce some basic household set-up costs and pressures for new householders, with the primary aim of improving health and wellbeing for recipients and in doing so helping to reduce the risk of future homelessness through improved tenancy sustainability.

Kathy Henry, Home Starter Pack Project Manager at Homeless Connect, said:

“The people who receive these starter packs are people who have full-duty applicant points, which is their homelessness points. Contained within the packs are essential household items and food to enable people to move into their new home and start living. We are appreciative to PHA for providing funding for Starter Packs and Getting Started Boxes.”

Further information on the Home Starter Pack programme can be found at:


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