On the 1st of March 2021, Ark Housing Association, in partnership with the Housing Executive’s Supporting People team, launched their housing related ‘Floating Support Service’to families experiencing or threatened with homelessness in the Greater Belfast area.
The new service signifies a move away from the current accommodation-based model to a floating support model which will provide services across a range of hostel, private lets and single let provision as directed in partnership with the Housing Executive, meaning that housing related support will be delivered to around 160 families.
This new service also aligns with the Department for Communities’ final report into the Review of Supporting Peoples (November 2015) recommendations to move to more floating support services and the Housing Executive’s Homelessness Strategy for Northern Ireland (2017-2022) and 2020-2023 Strategic Intent and Business Plan, in respect to temporary accommodation and support services for homeless families over the next few years.
At the launch, Jim McShane CEO Ark Housing Association stated that:
‘As a long-standing provider of temporary accommodation and support to homeless families, I am delighted to announce on behalf of Ark Housing Association, the launch of our new floating support service to homeless families in partnership with Supporting People and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
Floating support services have been shown to deliver strong preventative benefits in a very cost-effective way and through this service we will extend our reach to an additional 160 families per annum at no additional cost to the supporting people programme.
I would like to thank our staff team and all our stakeholders for their continuous guidance and support during the development of this proposal, and I wish our new Homeless Services Team and Supporting People every success as we move forward together’.
Alistair Mawhinney, Assistant Director, Supporting People, Housing Executive stated:
“The Supporting People programme helps approximately 19,000 people in need across Northern Ireland, promoting independence across a wide range of client groups. The Housing Executive’s Supporting People team are delighted to have worked with Ark Housing to deliver this service, to ensure that 160 families can be supported in the community and protected from becoming homeless”.