Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said that her focus is on preventing homelessness, during a visit to a housing project funded by her Department.
The Queens Quarter Housing project currently receives funding from the Department’s Homelessness Budget and from the Supporting People Budget, which are administered by the Housing Executive.
The Minister was speaking ahead of a consultation due to launch shortly on the Housing Executive’s new five-year homelessness strategy ‘Ending Homelessness Together’.
The Minister said that the response to homelessness must build on lessons learned during the pandemic.
Minister Hargey said: “Our focus must be to ensure that people do not find themselves in this situation, and where this does happen, to support them out of it as soon as possible.
“I have fully funded the Housing Executive’s Covid Reset Plan on homelessness for this year, bringing the total budget for homelessness for 2021/22 to approximately £50m.
“Covid-19 has been extraordinarily challenging. What it has shown us though is the strength of our established partnership working and how our response to the issue can be quick, more flexible and effective.”
The Housing Executive’s new strategy, due to launch for consultation shortly, will build on much of the lessons we have learnt, and will complement Year 3 of the Department’s Interdepartmental Homeless Action Plan, which will be published shortly.
The Minister continued: “We must work collectively to address the underlying issues to eradicate homelessness in our society.”