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Anger at standstill in ‘Supporting People’ budget – homeless will suffer

8 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has said that the Housing Executive's announcement that the funding for the 'Supporting People' programme is to remain at last year's figure will have a huge impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society including pensioners, homeless people and those with mental health problems.

He added that organisations which depend on this money could see significant drops in proposed budgets even if inflationary increases are not forthcoming.

Fra Mccann said:

"This is an attack on those most in need in our society. 'Supporting People' is the government's strategy for dealing with the homeless, those suffering from mental difficulties, with travellers, ethnic minorities and so on.

"It is a disgrace at a time when homeless figures are on the rise. More people require assistance now than ever before with some 20,000 declaring as homeless last year and an increase expected this year. It is also totally unacceptable that the Housing Executive would dare treat the many voluntary hosing groups like this.

"The minister who has ultimate control over the housing executive needs to explain exactly what projects she will shut down because of this cut and for example how many rough sleepers will now fall through the safety net because of this decision.

"I will be demanding to know why this decision was made and who made it. If, as I suspect, the minister knew about this then questions has to be asked about her claims to want to champion those in housing need. If the minister denies any involvement then she needs to move quickly to restore confidence in the homelessness strategy." ENDS

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