Housing Executive Chief Executive, Grainia Long, has called for a strategic shift towards prevention of homelessness across Northern Ireland.
The Chief Executive's was commenting following the publication of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s (NICCY) research report into the experience of children and families facing homelessness in the province. She said:
“Our statutory obligation is to provide solutions for homelessness, when it has occurred.
“However, demands for services have meant that too often we are in ‘emergency’ or ‘response’ mode.
“A holistic approach to homelessness requires a strategic shift towards prevention.
“Widening our statutory obligations to ‘prevention’ of homelessness would enable us to focus and invest more in preventative measures.”
Speaking at the launch of the NICCY report Grainia said:
“The report shines a light on the experiences of children and families in our communities and reinforces the importance of focusing on the prevention of homelessness to avoid reliance on temporary accommodation and solutions.
“Homelessness is a priority for us and our Homelessness Strategy 2022-27 outlines our overall approach to tackling this issue and it is supported with an annual action plan.
“We believe that no child should ever have to spend a prolonged period of time in temporary accommodation.
“However, the housing sector is under immense pressure in this area, facing ongoing increased demands for temporary accommodation.
“There is a level of complexity involved in ensuring the right housing and support solutions and we work with our statutory, voluntary, and community partners to provide these services in extremely challenging circumstances.
“I will now take time to consider the findings and recommendations of the report, and their implications for practice.”