Tackling homelessness in Northern Ireland
08 SEP 2021
A £90,000 grant from Allchurches Trust’s Methodist Grants Programme will help East Belfast Mission to develop an innovative, housing-focussed project in Northern Ireland, connecting those experiencing homelessness with the church and community.
Hosford is East Belfast Mission’s homeless service, based on Lower Newtownards Road in East Belfast. The service has been running for over 20 years, providing support to people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. It currently has two main services, a hostel containing 26 rooms/apartments and a tenancy support service for people who have a home but need support to maintain their independence and avoid homelessness.
The new project, supported by funding from Allchurches Trust, will redevelop 240 Newtownards Road into six private apartments and a community relations space for community groups, church activities, and to connect vulnerable people with the church and community.
The apartments will be for those who are ready to take that next step and move on from Hosford’s existing homelessness hostel, or for those who are affected by homelessness but a hostel environment would be detrimental to their lives and progression towards independence.
The new building will provide a new route out of homelessness for people who can’t access private rentals due to financial barriers, and clients will be able to benefit from increased independence, whilst also being connected to the services and support of the Hosford Homeless Project and East Belfast Mission church. The apartments will help a wide range of people, including: refugees and asylum seekers, unemployed individuals, people with mental health issues, those experiencing issues of addiction, young adults, and people leaving abusive situations.
The redevelopment will also help East Belfast Mission to undertake a wider project to invest more in community housing projects to meet the needs of people who are homeless and to regenerate the inner East Belfast area which is facing dereliction.
In 2020, there were 16,802 households presented as homeless in Northern Ireland. East Belfast Mission believe they are in the unique position to aid this need and change the lives of those experiencing homelessness in the community.
Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “Homelessness is a growing issue across the UK and Ireland. We’re delighted we can help East Belfast Mission to make a difference to so many vulnerable lives, giving people a clear route back to independence and providing support that goes beyond a roof over a head. We can’t wait to see the finished building, and the impact it will have in the community.”
Image: 240 Newtownards Road