Apply for the Housing and Homelessness Programme 2021- 2022

Information for applicants

The Foundation’s Housing and Homelessness Innovation and Voice Programme aims to support the development, testing and delivery of new ideas and collaborations addressing the root causes of housing issues and homelessness, and work with a range of organisations and giving voice to individuals with lived experience across Northern Ireland. The programme is funded by the Oak Foundation. Further information on the programme and expected outcomes are available here

The first cycle of the programme got underway in September 2021 and following a 5 week engagement process with people with lived experience, 13 challenge themes have been identified – if you have not already reviewed these challenges, please do so here.

The Foundation is now seeking Expressions of Interest from individuals with lived experience and organisations (including any non-profit, social enterprise or statutory organisations working in Northern Ireland)  in working with others to develop a solution to one or more of these challenges. Please review the below description so you can be sure the programme is a good fit and you will be able to commit the necessary time before completing the online Expression of Interest form (see link at the end of this article). Please also see the note on grant eligibility at the end of this article. You can express an interest in addressing up to 3 priority challenges.

Participation in the programme will comprise the following stages.

Stage one:  Collaborative team formation 

Everyone who expresses an interest in the programme will be invited to a ‘matching’ event on Tuesday 11th & Tuesday 25th January 2022, with the aim of exploring opportunities for collaboration and or partnership working to identify project teams. Attendance at one of these events is essential for continuation in the programme. At these events you will have an opportunity to meet other people who have expressed an interest in the same or similar challenges and to decide whether you would like to form a project ‘team’ together. A project team usually comprises between 4 and 6 individuals who can be from the same or different organisations and can include private individuals.

Following the matching events, participants will have a few days to decide whether they want to continue in the programme as part of a collaborative team or whether to participate as a team from a single organisation.  The programme can accommodate up to 10 teams in the subsequent phase. If the programme is oversubscribed the Foundation will work with the Programme Steering Group to design a fair selection process to decide who is offered a place on the next stage of the programme.

Stage two: Developing project ideas through Creative Problem Solving 

Selected participating teams will submit the names of between 4 and 6 individuals who will participate in all stages of the Creative Problem Solving process. These can be staff members, volunteers, board members or private individuals as relevant. To cover the costs (time and expenses) of participating for individuals who are not paid staff, a small grant of up to £1000 will be made available to each team, if needed.

The Creative Problem Solving process comprises a series of 4-6 workshops (depending if online or face to face) facilitated by our partner WorkWest, with support from CFNI staff. Dates will be set in advance and communicated with prospective applicants at all stages of the process to ensure wide availability. There are four stages in the Creative Problem Solving process, with each workshop roughly covering one stage:

Clarify – exploring the challenge you are working on and agreeing a shared description of it based on insights from people with lived experience
Ideate – brainstorming as many different possible solutions to the selected challenge before deciding which one or combination you think have most potential
Develop – narrow down your ideas and develop the detail of how they could work in practice
Test – build a physical prototype (a model) of your idea to present to the other teams and to potential beneficiaries/participants for feedback

Stage three: Seed Fund – participatory grant-making process 

Every team that has completed the Creative Problem Solving process is eligible to apply for a grant of £15,000 – £25,000 for the purposes of further testing, refining and/or delivering their project idea over a 12 month period. Final decisions will be made by people with lived experience of housing issues and homelessness using a Participatory Grant-Making process at a pitching and celebration event in spring 2022.

Each team will submit a short written application in advance of the event, using simple, accessible language describing their idea, the expected results and the costs. This will be made available to event attendees. Each team will also be asked to prepare a short ‘pitch’ to be delivered to the audience at the event. After all the pitches have taken place participants will discuss them with each other and then vote for their choices individually. Each participant will have multiple votes, which must be spread across a range of different projects. This process is based on the ‘participatory budgeting’ methodology which you can read more about here.


Note on grant eligibility:
Whilst we welcome and encourage participation from individuals with lived experience and non-profit, social enterprise or statutory organisations in the programme, each team will ultimately need to designate a ‘lead organisation’ by the end of the creative problem solving process. The lead organisation will be the direct recipient of any grant awarded and must meet the Foundation’s general grants criteria and supporting documentation requirements as set out here.

In addition, for this programme, lead organisations must have an annual income of £1million or less in the most recent year for which accounts are available. The purpose of this is to support newer or smaller organisations to come forward and lead on projects. Please note that organisations that do not meet these criteria can still take part in the programme and have a delivery role within the eventual projects, in partnership with the lead organisation for their team.



Having reviewed the above description and the list of priority challenges, if you would like to express an interest in taking part in the programme please do so by completing this short form before the deadline of midnight on Friday 7th January 2022. 

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