Lord Morrow expresses sympathy

Date published: 21 March 2016

Social Development Minister Lord Morrow, MLA was very saddened to learn of the death Catherine Kenny in Belfast on Saturday morning and has said that the issue of homelessness and those sleeping rough on our streets continues to be a priority for him and his Executive colleagues.

Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley

Lord Morrow has initiated a high level Ministerial group which includes the Justice Minister David Ford MLA and Health Minister Simon Hamilton MLA. The first meeting of this group took place on Monday 14 March when Ministers and officials met with representatives from the homeless sector to hear about the issues of street homelessness and what more needs to be done to tackle this important issue.

Minister Morrow said: “First and foremost I want to express my deepest sympathies to all the families who have lost their loved ones in such tragic circumstances. Life is very precious and the death of Catherine Kenny who is the fifth person to die is of great concern and one, which we, as a society cannot accept.

“I am determined that this complex issue requires a number of statutory and voluntary agencies to work together to tackle it. It is often characterised as being solely about rough sleeping when this is not the full picture. There are places available for people who choose to sleep rough on our streets and I would appeal to them and importantly to those who know them to avail of these and to access the wrap around services and help that is available.

“Following on from the Ministerial meeting held on 14 March I intend to bring a draft action plan to the Executive meeting this Thursday 24th March for consideration by my Executive colleagues. This draft plan addresses a number of short time actions including the need to make existing services more accessible, address current identified gaps in services, improve linkages between the services and raise public awareness on some key issues. A number of longer term actions have also been identified.”

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) has statutory responsibility for responding to homelessness. The Department for Social Development (DSD) already provides funding of over £35 million for homelessness services in Northern Ireland. This funding includes help for those in emergency situations, funding for work to prevent homelessness, as well as housing support services through the Supporting People Programme.

The Minister added: “The First Minister Arlene Foster and myself recently visited Centenary House in Belfast where we met the staff who are dealing with people with very complex needs and witnessed at first hand services that are provided.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact the DSD Press Office on 028 90 829494 or email press.office@dsdni.gov.uk. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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