Homelessness action plan for Northern Ireland fully funded – Minister Hargey
A £9million investment by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey will fully fund the Housing Executive’s Covid Reset Plan on homelessness this year.
The Covid Reset Plan ‘The Way Home - Homelessness Response to Covid-19' aims to build on the collaborative response which has been so effective to date during the pandemic to end homelessness together.
It brings the total budget for homelessness for 2021/22 to £46m.
Minister Hargey said:
“It is vitally important that we build on the experiences of the pandemic in addressing homelessness and assisting some of the most vulnerable in society.
“Many of the actions taken since the emergence of the pandemic reflect the current strategic approach to tackling homelessness but the speed and flexibility adopted since March 2020 during the emergency response have shown that faster progress in our homelessness response is possible and necessary.
“The £9m for the Reset Plan, will enable the Housing Executive to continue to deliver the public health response and ensure that every effort is taken to engage with individuals on the street to offer them somewhere safe to stay. It will also ensure emergency accommodation is offered to all.”
The Minister continued:
“The Department will be working proactively, with others across government, to prioritise action to improve our response to homelessness, to focus on prevention rather than management.
“Addressing homelessness will take a concerted effort across sectors. We see each year that its causes vary from relationship breakdown, unsuitable accommodation, eviction from a private landlord and health issues including addiction and mental illness.
“The solutions are wider than housing alone, however, building more homes is a big part of the solution. I am determined to deliver more social housing and was pleased to report recently that we exceeded the social housing targets for last year by 30%, with 2,408 new homes started in 20/21. I will also be investing £162m in the new build programme this year – an increase of £26m. I have also set out a programme of reform for the private rented sector to give tenants more security of tenure.”