As Christmas approaches, at least ten individuals or families who are currently homeless in Belfast, can look forward to being in a home of their own in the New Year, as a result of a transformational new housing project being launched today by Extern.
Known as Extern Homes, the initiative is a first for Northern Ireland. Extern has purchased houses to create homes for people who are homeless, or who are at risk of homelessness, giving them a chance to rebuild their lives. The homes come with wraparound support services, including access to training and employment opportunities.
The project is being supported by Charity Bank, the ethical bank that exists to lend to charities and social enterprises, and is being launched today by the Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, at City Hall, during Homelessness Awareness Week.
Commending Extern ahead of the launch of the new project, Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “This is a very heartening development which will give new hope and stability to those facing homelessness in our city. Extern and its partner Charity Bank have taken a bold and innovative step in purchasing these ten homes in the first phase of the project and giving these people a fresh start. I wish these individuals every happiness in their new homes, and I very much look forward to seeing this scheme grow in success and reach.”
Charlie Mack, CEO of Extern, added: “Extern believes everyone can make a positive contribution to society, and has worked hard, over two years, to bring this revolutionary approach to Northern Ireland. This is a significant investment for Extern, and this initiative is enabling people to rebuild their lives and to move people from homelessness to homes.
“Each night in Belfast, Extern is supporting over 380 families and individuals who are at risk of homelessness, or who are homeless, with no front door to call their own. Through Extern Homes, we are enabling people to not only get back the key to their own front door, we are also empowering them to unlock a whole new future for themselves, and their families, as a result of the wraparound support and training opportunities which Extern is providing as part of these life-changing tenancies.”
Speaking about why Charity Bank chose to get involved in supporting the scheme, Patrick Minne, Northern Ireland Manager, said: “Charity Bank was set up to support projects like this, and to back charities and social enterprises working hard to tackle social problems within communities. Our loan will help Extern to change the lives of people and families who are currently homeless.”