Housing First Belfast
“Adopting the Housing First principles in Northern Ireland has resulted in Depaul’s Housing First service making strides in securing and maintaining houses for people who were homeless FIRST…. Not housing secondary to treatment”
The Housing First model is very effective in helping people who are homeless to maintain a permanent home in the community and stop them from moving around emergency services and sleeping rough. This is very often the case for people who have complex support needs that include addiction and mental health issues. Very often the people Depaul helps through the Housing First service are deemed as unable to live independently and maintain their home in the community. However through partnerships with the person themselves and other support services in the local community this is not the case for many of the people who are referred to Depaul’s Housing First service.
The aim of the Housing First service is to identify, assess, place and support people who are homeless with complex needs into permanent housing from a range of temporary accommodation sources. Once they find a new home, the Housing First team works to coordinate appropriate supports around the individual so that they can remain in their own home.
The Housing First service is open to people with addiction issues and other complex needs, who are homeless. The service is also available to those who are preparing for release from prison, and who will be homeless on release.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to keep this home that I have been in for a couple of years now without their help”
At Depaul we believe that in order to end homelessness it is not enough to accommodate people in emergency services for long periods of time. We believe that emergency accommodation should be just that, a short-term placement to assist a person through and out of homelessness. Housing first promotes independence to the most marginalised individuals and ensures we can put intensive supports in place for those who need them in order to maintain their home, and their place in the community.
Areas of support provided by the Housing First Team include: lease/housing difficulties, life-skills, dealing with anti-social behaviour, help with completing forms, debt advice, advice on making a complaint, benefit difficulties, referral to other agencies, budgeting and many more...
“The goal of our work is to do whatever it takes to make sure a tenancy does not break down and result in a person becoming homeless again. Therefore the working hours are flexible and often outside of normal office hours to offer safety to the people who need us most”