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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Department of Communities Continued Funding for the Housing Executive’s Covid-19 Reset Plan

Housing Rights welcomes the Department for Communities’ announcement of a £9m investment to fully fund the Housing Executive’s COVID-19 Reset Plan on Homelessness this year, making the total budget for homelessness for 2021/22 £46m.

This funding will support the NIHE in achieving the aims of their COVID-19 Homeless response:

  • To safeguard as many homeless people as possible against COVID-19 ensuring they have the same chance as other vulnerable people to self-isolate and receive care, protection and treatment where necessary.
  • To enable homeless services to work effectively and respond safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing Executive’s priority areas

The Housing Executive's COVID-19 reset plan is available online. It identifies a number of priority areas:

  1. Tackling rough sleeping. Regardless of immigration status, ensuring people have access to a safe and appropriate accommodation. The hope is to prevent a return to pre-pandemic levels of rough sleeping experienced.
  2. Ensuring there is regular supply of accommodation. Providing for immediate accommodation needs and improving long term housing options for homeless households.
  3. Prevention. Prioritising homelessness prevention and making a long term commitment to the extension of housing-led and housing first provision.
  4. Homeless services. Ensuring that statutory homeless services and general homeless services continue to be delivered safely and effectively.
  5. Maintaining collaborative working with other organisations. Continuing the multi-agency collaboration which currently exists to support homeless households. Homelessness is not just a housing need. It must be ensured that the cross-sector working between housing, health and the homeless sector continues and becomes embedded and institutionalized as a long-term goal.

In response to Covid-19 during 2020/21 the department provided additional funding of approximately £7.3m to the Housing Executive on top of the main homelessness budget.  This included funding from the Department of Health for the ‘Everyone In’ initiative to provide accommodation for those living on the street who had no recourse to public funds.  This funding has been extended until the end of June. 

Housing Rights strongly welcomes the extension of this funding and is calling for it to be further extended beyond the end of June, and for learning from the ‘Everyone In’ initiative to be used to identify longer-term solutions to be sought for people with no recourse to public funds.

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This article was written on 2 June 2021. 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.