13 Housing and Homelessness Challenges identified

Foundation News

13 Housing and Homelessness Challenges identified

1 Nov 2021

Housing and Homelessness Challenges Identified by People with Lived Experience for New Innovation & Grants Programme

Individuals with lived experience of housing issues and homelessness have identified 13 priority challenges that are not being adequately addressed by existing services, policies or legislation in Northern Ireland. The challenges will now be used to inspire the development of innovative projects as part of a new grants programme being delivered by the Community Foundation Northern Ireland.

The Housing and Homelessness Innovation and Voice Programme is funded by the Oak Foundation and aims to support the development, testing and delivery of new ideas and collaborations addressing the root causes of housing issues and homelessness. As the first stage of the programme, over the past five weeks the Community Foundation and partners engaged with 204 individuals through an online survey as well as conversations with individuals accessing homelessness services. Find out more about the programme here. 

Organisations and individuals with lived experience are now being invited to express an interest in working together to develop new solutions to one or more of these challenges through an innovation process. Ultimately the programme will lead to a series of grants being made to the most promising ideas, with the final decisions being made by individuals with lived experience of housing issues and homelessness in spring 2022.

Those thinking of applying should review the list of challenges and related themes on the Foundation website as well as information on how the programme will work before completing a brief expression of interest form online. The deadline for expressions of interest is midnight on Friday 26th November. 

In addition to the survey, the Foundation held a workshop to discuss some of the emerging themes in more detail and reviewed other local research that gathered insights from people affected, including groups with specific needs such as refugees and asylum seekers, the LGBTQ+ community and young people.

The Foundation’s Housing & Homelessness Programme Steering Group, which comprises individuals with lived experience as well as representatives of key organisations working on housing and homelessness, reviewed the results of the survey and the associated research and agreed on the following 13 themes as the basis for the next stage of the programme.

  1. Rented housing
  2. Mental health & complex needs
  3. Stigma & respect
  4. Hostels and temporary emergency accommodation
  5. Violence against women and girls
  6. Female homelessness
  7. Services/support for male and other victims of domestic abuse
  8. Relationship breakdown
  9. Homelessness affecting asylum seekers and refugees
  10. Homelessness affecting LGBTQ+ people
  11. Homelessness affecting young people
  12. Early Intervention support
  13. Agencies and organisations not collaborating enough


Paul Braithwaite, Head of Innovation and Voice said:

“This new programme is a fantastic opportunity for organisations and individuals to collaborate and develop innovative solutions that can get at the root causes of housing issues and homelessness in Northern Ireland. The programme utilises many elements of our other innovation programmes, such as creative problem solving, however, goes a step further, involving individuals with lived experience at every stage, from the steering group to the identification of challenges to participating in the decision-making for the grants. We at the Foundation believe that everyone has the right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and shape the society they live in and are committed to supporting this through our approach to social change through grant-making. We’re excited to see who will come forward to take part in the next stage of the programme with us and what ideas will emerge in the coming months. We are grateful to our funders, Oak Foundation for embracing this creative approach to addressing the root causes of housing issues and homelessness in Northern Ireland.”


The programme will open for expression of interest from Monday 1st November to Friday 26th November 2021. A total of 10 project teams will be formed through collaboration amongst participants and seed fund awards of up to £25,000 will be made to the most promising project ideas that emerge from the programme.


Express your interest here. 


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