Homeless Connect responds to Department for Communities Budget Allocations Consultation

by | Jul 8, 2024 | News

The Consultation

In June, the Department for Communities launched a consultation seeking views on the budget allocations the Department received for 2024/5. As the Department puts it, the consultation “document details the Minister for Communities’ initial Budget 2024-25 decisions and how they will impact on the Department’s ability to deliver public services.” The consultation seeks the views of stakeholders on the allocations set out.

Our Response

Homeless Connect made a submission to the consultation on Monday 8 July. The submission has been informed by comments made by our Policy Forum, which is made up of representatives of our member organisations. Some of the key points made include:

Capital Funding

  • Homeless Connect have “deep and grave concerns about the budgetary allocations for 2024/5” for the Department of Communities.
  • The response notes that even with the additional funding provided to the Department for Communities through the June monitoring round, the capital funding provided for the provision of new starts for social housing remains “nothing short of devastating.” The capital budget will only allow the Department to fund up to 600 social housing new starts in 2024/5. This is only 30% of the target the Department had set for 2024/5. With rising social housing waiting lists and over 28,600 households with homelessness status in NI on the waiting list, this level of new starts will pile “more and more pressure on an already fragile housing system.” The response goes on to highlight the important role social housing plays in reducing demand for temporary accommodation as well as reducing and alleviating poverty.

Funding for the Housing Executive

  • The submission states that the proposed freeze to the budget for the Housing Executive in 2024/5 “will only further weaken the organisation and its ability to respond to rising levels of homelessness.” It highlights the fact that the homelessness strategy for 2022-27, which was produced in close collaboration with the homelessness sector, “is at risk of becoming merely an aspirational dream which the Housing Executive is in practice powerless to implement due to lack of resources.” The response calls for a different approach to see additional funding granted to the Housing Executive.

The Supporting People Programme

  • The news that the Supporting People programme will receive an uplift of 6.4% is welcomed in the response as “positive news.” However, the response is clear that the homelessness sector funded through the programme remains under substantial pressure and that sustained and consistent investment will be necessary over future years if the goals of the programme are to be met.

The Homelessness Services Budget

  • The response outlines Homeless Connect’s deep concern about the proposed freeze to the homelessness services budget both for people experiencing homelessness and the wider homelessness sector. It notes that “the decision to keep prevention and non-accommodation services funded out of the same pot as temporary accommodation funding has created the serious situation where these services, and in some instances charities, are put at risk depending on the level of demand which enters the temporary accommodation system.” The response calls on the Department to reconsider how homelessness prevention services are funded going forward.

You can read our full response here.


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