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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Chronic homelessness action plan consultation underway

In February 2019, the Board of the Housing Executive approved the draft Chronic Homelessness Action Plan, which focuses on the “Ending Homelessness Together” commitment, set out in the Homelessness Strategy 2017-2022.

The Plan covers a three year period from April 2019 to March 2022 and will be reviewed annually in conjunction with the Homelessness Strategy and updated to reflect new of changing priorities.

What is “chronic homelessness”?

The Homelessness Strategy 2017-2022 defines chronic homelessness as a “group of individuals with very pronounced and complex support needs who find it difficult to exit from homelessness”.

Chronic homelessness is a state at the most severe end of the homelessness spectrum. It can manifest itself in a wide range of circumstances including, but not exclusive to rough sleeping or street activity. Although individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness account for a minority of the homeless population, their diverse needs, mental and physical health issues, addictions, legal and justice issues and the discrimination issues they may face tend to be much more severe.

Aims and Objectives

The aims of the action plan are to:

  1. Improve the measurement and understanding of the scale of the problem of chronic homelessness and establish a baseline.
  2. Promote early intervention and prevention of chronic homelessness.
  3. Provide a rapid response to chronic homelessness to ensure interventions are effective and well targeted.
  4. Promote a cross-departmental and inter-agency approach to addressing the problem of chronic homelessness.

The objectives of the plan are:

  1. Design specific criteria for measuring chronic homelessness and implement data collection arrangements.
  2. Introduce mechanisms to monitor and report on chronic homelessness trends.
  3. Utilise chronic homeless data and trend information to identify existing and emerging needs to address chronic homelessness in the context of legislation, policy and service provision.
  4. Develop mechanisms across agencies for early identification of those who are at risk of homelessness or chronic homelessness.
  5. Implement a range of support services to help people sustain their accommodation including floating support and tenancy sustainment.
  6. Implement arrangements to ensure services engage with people at risk of chronic homelessness as quickly as possible.
  7. Make the stay in temporary accommodation as short as possible.
  8. Consider a range of housing options for the chronic homeless including Housing First and ensure they are supported into permanent accommodation as soon as possible.
  9. Promote inter-agency issues and actions required to address chronic homelessness.
  10. Ensure mechanisms are in place to implement and oversee the implementation of the Chronic Homelessness Action Plan.

Responding to the Consultation

As part of the consultation process there will be three consultation events as noted below:

  • Wednesday 19th June – Dungannon
  • Thursday 20th June – Derry/Londonderry
  • Friday 21st June – Belfast

Each of these events will be morning events and confirmed venues and further details will be distributed over the coming week.  If you would like to express an interest in attending these events please email homelessness.strategy AT NIHE advising which of the consultation events you would like to attend.

Find out more about the consultation process and about how you can respond at the NIHE website. The deadline for submission of responses is Friday 2nd August at 5pm.

Tagged In

Regulation, Homelessness

This article was written on 22 May 2019. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.