Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has today seen first-hand how her Department is supporting those experiencing homelessness.
The Minister visited Belfast Foyer, a hostel managed by the Simon Community for young people. At the hostel residents are provided with emergency accommodation while also receiving advice and support.
The Simon Community receives over £5m from the Department for Communities’ Supporting People Programme to support those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Earlier in the day the Minister met with the Committee Representing Independent Supporting People Providers (CRISSP) to advise that protecting this important budget is a priority for her going forward.
Speaking after the visit, Minister Hargey said:
“I want to thank the Simon Community for the opportunity to meet with them and to see first-hand the importance of the Supporting People funding to people’s lives.
“The Simon Community, and indeed all those working across the homelessness sector, provide valuable support and are a lifeline to people in need. It is through the dedication, passion and expertise from all those working in the sector that young people are supported out of homelessness. I very much appreciate that the Supporting People funding from my Department is essential in ensuring this support can be provided and my aim is to protect its budget going forward.
“I am clear that as Communities Minister my priority is to support those most in need. Those who do not have a stable place to call home are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and we have a duty to not only address their immediate needs but also to deliver long term solutions. No-one should be faced with having nowhere to call home.”
The Minister continued:
“I am committed to addressing housing stress and welcome the priority given to housing in New Decade, New Approach which sets out how the Executive will enhance investment and agree a new target for social and affordable home starts.
“I am also very aware that this will require a cross government response. This is very obviously the case with homelessness. Chronic homelessness continues to be caused by wider issues such as relationship breakdown, addiction and mental health issues. Preventing homelessness has to be our priority.
“It is more important than ever that the Executive work collectively to end homelessness through my Department’s Interdepartmental Action Plan and I look forward to publishing the latest Plan in the coming months.”
Notes to editors:
- The Department’s Supporting People budget for 2019/20 is £72.8 million of which £25.5 million goes towards preventing or addressing homelessness. This is in addition to the Homeless budget of £10.6 million.
- The Programme is managed by the Housing Executive on the Department’s behalf.
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