Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has met with the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive this week to raise concerns around cuts to the Supporting People programme.
Mrs. McCallion attended the meeting with local party colleagues, Karen Mullan MLA and Colr. Colly Kelly.
Speaking afterwards, the Foyle MP said: I met with Clark Bailie, Chief Executive of the Housing Executive and outlined our concern regarding the five percent cut to the Supporting People Programme budget.
“I highlighted the adverse effect that this cut is having on local groups on providing much needed support for the most vulnerable people in our society.
“I stressed the cut to the Supporting People Programme would have serious implications for people’s well-being and will create even more pressure on public finances in the long-term.”
Mrs. McCallion added: “The meeting was positive and the Chief Executive informed us that he is seeking additional funding for the Supporting People Programmes and he is hopeful that he can secure this funding.
“Supporting People helps vulnerable people to live independently, including those who are disabled, elderly and victims of domestic violence. It is vital that this service is protected.”
The Housing Executive states that the project funds “a range of housing related support services for vulnerable people to improve their quality of life and attain independence.”
Supporting People funding is used to staff and run a wide range of local organisations providing housing related support to homeless families and single people, disabled people, those fleeing domestic violence, people with mental health issues, people with alcohol and drugs problems, those sleeping rough, older people needing support, Travellers, young people deemed vulnerable and those leaving care, among others.
The project is funded by the Department for Communities and administered on its behalf by the Housing Executive. The Supporting People budget last year was £72.8m, with an additional £3m added during the year.
However, the Housing Executive earlier this year contacted providers saying it had reviewed funding for a number of Supporting People schemes and “regrettably had to advise providers of a reduction to some budgets.”
There has been major opposition to the plans, with same staff working in hostels and other facilities warning of the potential impact on staffing and services.