By Una Murphy, VIEWdigital publisher,
Policymakers and stakeholders discussed housing priorities at a conference in Belfast recently.
Nichola Mallon gave an impassioned plea to tackle homelessness; as an MLA she introduced a Private Member’s Bill to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which would have placed a statutory duty on all government departments to tackle homelessness but the bill fell with the collapse of the Assembly in January.
Her sense of disappointment that the bill did not become law was palpable.
Placing a statutory duty on each government department, in our view, could have helped decision-makers to ‘join the dots’ on homelessness and find a solution to what our guest editor Jim Dennison of Simon Community NI calls a “crisis”.
Three years ago Kenny was on the front cover of VIEW magazine. He had been homeless from an early age; VIEW editor Brian Pelan caught up with him to find how he turned his life around. He now has his own front door key, a home for himself and his family.
People like Kenny should be part of the conversations with policy-makers and stakeholders because homeless people are not just statistics.
Reports show that there are close to 12,000 homeless in Northern Ireland, only 3,000 new homes were built here this year and there are 20,000 vacant homes.
More needs to be done by decision-makers. They must ‘join the dots’ before the homelessness crisis becomes a catastrophe.
To read our latest issue of VIEW – https://issuu.com/brianpelanone/docs/view_-_homelessness_view
To download a PDF version – https://cl.ly/o2HR
Images from today’s launch of VIEW issue on homelessness at Conway Mill in west Belfast