Homeless health help welcomed

Plans to provide an extended health safety net for local homeless people has been welcomed by the Workers Party’s South Belfast representative, Patrick Lynn.

Health checks and ongoing support are extremely important for everting, and particularly for those who are homeless. The average life expectancy of people sleeping rough is thought to be around 43 years.

That is an appalling indictment of the society we live in and the priorities it has. Initiatives like this, and the tireless work of groups like the Welcome Organisation, are always to be supported.

However, only the public provision of affordable housing and meaningful strategies to address and overcome homelessness can stem this tide and offer dignity, security and a quality of life to all.

Support & Solidarity with Hostel Residents and Staff

Workers Party members have this evening joined with staff at the only, women-only, homeless hostel, Regina Coeli, in west Belfast in support and solidarity with them and the hostels residents.

Members of the UNITE union are now in the second week of a ‘work-in’ as they take a stand against the hostel’s proposed closure.

Party members presented a letter of support and solidarity to the residents and staff which expressed the widespread outrage that a hostel for homeless women, that has been serving the community for almost 90 years, is now on the verge of collapse.

The letter also said that it was an affront to people from Belfast and beyond that MLAs representing the parties of government would turn up to protest the imminent closure but have done nothing to ensure its future.

The immediate goal must be to keep the hostel open and in support of that our members have signed and circulated the UNITE the Union petition. (see link below)

The Workers Party has also contacted the Minister for Communities demanding immediate intervention and long-term financial support.

Sign the Petition

Homeless people vulnerable to Coronovirus

Homeless people are three times more likley to have a chronic health condition

“We are all at risk from Covid 19, but homeless people, particularly those who are rough sleeping, can be amongst the most vulnerable”, Workers Party spokesperson Conor Duffy says.

Calling for a specific Covid 19 response package to meet their unique needs, Conor said, “homeless people are three times more likely to experience a chronic health condition, including asthma and COPD”.

“The support they depend on needs to be secured and strengthened as the demands on all resources increase at this time. It is vital that homeless people are recognised as a vulnerable group and that the Northern Ireland Executive steps in now to protect and enhance the vital services they need”, he said.

“I have been in touch with the Department for Communities and the Department of Health to bring these issues to their attention”, Conor added, “and, as a minimum first step, I am calling on the Executive to announce a programme of measures including:

  • securing hotel style accommodation to meet the increased need for self-contained accommodation so that people can self-isolate. 
  • ensuring that anyone who is at risk of, or is already homeless, can access self-contained accommodation.
  • providing additional financial support through the Universal Credit system to ensure that people are not pushed into homelessness. 
  • protecting renters from evictions
  • rapid access to testing for the virus and healthcare assistance for people sleeping rough and living in hostels and shelter accommodation
  • recognising frontline workers in homelessness organisations as an emergency service
  • allocating an emergency budget to fund homelessness services”.