This afternoon the All Party Group on Homelessness held its Annual General Meeting to elect office bearers and agree a workplan for the upcoming year. The following office bearers were elected for the next year:
- Chairperson: Ciara Ferguson MLA
- Vice-Chairperson: Kellie Armstrong MLA
- Secretary: Diane Forsythe MLA
- Treasurer: Nick Mathison MLA
The APG agreed a work plan for the next year. This will involve holding several meetings to hear from a wide range of organisations working to support people experiencing homelessness in NI. There will be a particular focus on the Supporting People programme; the connection between homelessness and health; and the impact of policing and the criminal justice system on people experiencing homelessness. In addition, the group plans to hold an event to mark Homelessness Awareness Week in December.
Homeless Connect has the privilege of acting as the secretariat for the All Party Group on Homelessness. We are grateful to all of the MLAs who have joined the group. We know that the group has already made a positive difference in raising awareness of homelessness here, the change we need to see to prevent and reduce it and in building connections between our elected politicians and the wider homelessness sector.
There is no question that the homelessness sector faces major challenges. In a very difficult fiscal environment, the next year will prove hugely challenging. It is our hope that the APG can play a constructive role in seeking better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness and the sector which supports them in the year to come.