A coalition of charities and voluntary organisations has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to strengthen a programme that helps vulnerable people in Ballymoney and Moyle live as independently as possible.
The Supporting People programme provides some 882 housing related support services to aid independent living and prevent problems that can result in hospitalisation, institutional care or homelessness.
More than half a million pounds worth of services are delivered in Ballymoney and Moyle through 14 and nine sheltered and supported housing schemes and one floating support service repectively.
Introduced in 2003, the programme has dramatically improved the services available to a range of groups including older people, people with learning disabilities, and homeless people.
However, funding for Supporting People schemes has now been frozen for seven years and campaigners are concerned about the potential impact of NI Executive spending cuts on the programme.
Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations warned that the future of services relied on by thousands of people requires Supporting People to be strengthened as dedicated programme of housing support, and properly funded by the NI Executive: “Supporting People has been an immense success, enabling thousands of people to sustain their accommodation and live with as much independence as possible. Service providers are committed to working with government in its review, but uncertainty on the programme’s future and a prolonged funding squeeze threatens the quality and viability of Supporting People services.
“Supporting People must be properly resourced to remain effective and continue delivering strongly for Northern Ireland. Inflationary uplifts are vital in the short-term, and we call on the NI Executive to recognise Supporting People’s value and commit to strengthening it as a dedicated programme of housing support.”