Homelessness top of the agenda for Social Development Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 10 December 2009

Reference: SD 08/09/10

The Northern Ireland Assembly Social Development Committee today visited homelessness projects in the Derry City Council area as part of its work on the Housing Amendment Bill.

Committee Chairperson, Mr. Simon Hamilton, MLA said: “The Committee is very pleased to be able to visit Londonderry and highlight the important work undertaken by the Council for the Homeless in tackling homelessness in the North West. It is especially poignant at this time of year when people’s thoughts turn to all of those who are less fortunate than themselves. The Committee believes that the support provided by hostels like Shepherd’s View is crucial not just at Christmas but all year round.”

He continued: “The Committee has devoted a lot of time to the review of support for the homeless – from new legislation which will require the Housing Executive to produce a new Homelessness Strategy to the provision of tailored homelessness prevention advice. The Committee sees the solution to homelessness as dependent on a number of departments and a wide range of stakeholders and has been encouraged by the progress achieved to-date by the Department through its Including the Homeless strategy.”

As well as visiting homelessness projects, the Committee also held a public meeting in the Millennium Forum. The Committee received briefings on Welfare Reform, funding for community development and proposals for a review of gambling legislation.

Simon Hamilton concluded: “The Committee is also pleased to be holding one of its regular meetings outside of Parliament Buildings, Belfast. These visits give the Committee the opportunity to explain its work; encourage engagement with the wider public and highlight the important role that the Committee has in scrutinising the work of the Department for Social Development.”

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