Homelessness Awareness Week (HAW) is an annual week of awareness raising events across the country to highlight the issue of homelessness and to mark the continued efforts of organisations, staff, and service users working in the sector. HAW aims to:

  • Challenge stereotypes surrounding homelessness;
  • Build links between service users, services and the public;
  • Highlight the work of the homelessness sector;
  • Increase the public awareness of the nature of homelessness;

HOMELESSNESS & ARK HOUSING

Homelessness is a critical issue, particularly here in Northern Ireland, with the highest proportion of people in the UK without a roof over their heads (Homelessness Monitor 2014). The effects of homelessness are devastating. Homeless people have a much lower life expectancy than those in secure and stable accommodation. They also have fewer educational and employment opportunities, suffer from stigmatisation, social exclusion and from mental ill health. During 2017-18, over 18,000 households presented themselves as homeless to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), with over 32% being families. Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2017-18.

Ark Housing operates two Family Centres in Belfast for homeless families, Roseville House and Moyard House, in partnership with Supporting People and NIHE. Both schemes not only provide temporary accommodation, but also homeless support services, including a comprehensive assessment of client needs and floating support to assist in the successful integration of families into local communities. We work closely with a broad range of statutory, voluntary and community organisations in the delivery of this service. We recognise that there is now a greater need than ever to respond to homelessness in a coordinated multi agency approach. We are proud to provide services that benefits over a hundred homeless families a year.

HOMELESS AWARENESS WEEK 2019

For Homelessness Awareness Week 2019, (29 Nov-6 Dec 2019), we are holding 3 separate events to raise awareness of family homelessness and its impact.

Event No.1: Roseville House, 23 Rossmore Drive Belfast BT7 3LA – 29th November 2019

A group of residents at our Homeless Family Centre, Roseville House, are knitting/crocheting blankets for clients of the Belfast Welcome Organisation, who are also homeless but, unfortunately, sleep on the streets of Belfast. A representative from the Welcome Organisation will be presented with the blankets on 29th November 2019 at 13:00 at Roseville House.

Event No. 2: Ark Housing/Youth Forum, Stormont – 30th November 2019

A group of young people from our schemes and the local community, who met through a TBUC (Towards Building United Communities) programme will travel to Stormont on 30th November 2019 at 11am to highlight the fact that approximately 6000 families in Northern Ireland are currently homeless.

Event No.3: Moyard House, 88-90 Moyard Park, Belfast, BT12 7FT – 2nd December 2019

An ex-resident of Moyard House will talk about the journey from her country of origin to Northern Ireland and the negatives and positives of being in temporary accommodation as well as the challenges she has faced. In addition, she will share a piece of art that has been created with the assistance of other residents in Moyard House. This will take place on 2nd December 2019 at 12:00pm.