The Manifesto asks political parties to adopt ten proposals in their manifestos for the Assembly election next year. These include reforming the legislation around homelessness here; ending rough sleeping; increasing budgets for the homelessness sector; and increasing investment for new social and genuinely affordable housing.
The Manifesto was developed in collaboration with members of the Homeless Connect Policy Forum, which is made up of several representatives from organisations across the Homelessness Sector. The manifesto has been sent to political parties represented at the Assembly.
Mark Baillie, Public Affairs and Policy Officer for Homeless Connect said:
“Law and policy can seem like dry subjects, but in the end they really do matter. Decisions the next Executive and Assembly make on funding and legislation will have a major impact on the lives of those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Homelessness can have a devastating impact on those who experience it in terms of health, life chances and wellbeing.
We have developed ten policy proposals in collaboration with our members which, if adopted, would make a real difference in the lives of those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. We urge parties here to commit to the reforms this society needs to see if we are to prevent and reduce homelessness.”
One of the manifesto proposals calls on Government to ensure people with lived experience of homelessness are at the heart of policy development and design of services. In coming months, Homeless Connect plans to be involved in setting up a homelessness service user forum to allow service users to voice their views and directly engage with policy makers.
Nikki, an individual with lived experience of homelessness, said:
“As a person who has experienced homelessness, I know that decisions that the Northern Ireland Executive makes really matter. Having come through homelessness, I have experienced both the positives and negatives of the homelessness system as it stands. Publicly funded services helped me to ultimately exit homelessness. However, opportunities were missed which could have helped to prevent me becoming homeless in the first place or helped me to exit homelessness sooner.
This manifesto puts forward constructive ideas which, if adopted, would help to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place and would assist those who find themselves homeless to find long-term accommodation. In the end, homelessness is about people. It’s not just about the bricks and mortar of a building. People are diverse and complex and should not be expected to fit into a stereotype or ‘tick boxes’ to access homeless services.
The laws and policies in this area matter because of how they impact on real people. How society treats those experiencing homelessness says a lot about who we are as a society. I urge our political parties to adopt policies like those set out in this manifesto which will make a real difference in preventing and reducing homelessness.”
You can find the full manifesto here.