Evaluation of a Housing First service in Belfast

John Palmer and Salma Ahmed are working with Fiona Boyle (Fiona Boyle Associates) on an evaluation of a Housing First service developed in Belfast by De Paul Ireland. The evaluation is being funded by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive at the request of De Paul.
Homelessness is a significant problem in Northern ireland (NI), with around 20,000 households presenting as homeless annually and around 50% of these being accepted as statutory homeless. An increasing number of single homeless applicants have a combination of chronic addiction, mental health and challenging
behavioural problems, and display patterns of very chaotic behaviour. The Housing First model of provision is designed as way of accessing permanent housing with the personalised support that people need as a response to all forms of homelessness, especially for those with complex needs, and as a way of ending the so-called ‘revolving door’ of homelessness.
De Paul was commissioned by the Supporting People team to introduce the Housing First model in four geographical areas (East Belfast, North Belfast, West Belfast and Dairyfarm). The pilot of the Housing First project commenced in Belfast in April 2013 and was extended to Derry in January 2015. The evaluation will be completed in the New Year 2016.