In line with government guidance on social distancing and coronavirus we will be operating significantly reduced services from our Royal Avenue offices.

Our Homeless Support Teams will operate three-person shifts for in-person advice, assessment and assistance.

Office open 10-12 and 2-4 only, with access for 1/2 persons or families at any one time.

Needle Exchange Outreach services will be available from 2pm-8pm.

All drop-in advice clinics are cancelled. All other staff are working remotely and will be in daily contact with those we support.


Extern's Multi-Disciplinary Homeless Support Team is a Belfast-based outreach team working in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Belfast Health & Social Care Trust to provide assistance, support, and advocacy, to adults and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Assessment, intervention and review are important aspects of the work of the team. Key to the Multi-Disciplinary Homeless Support Team (MDHST) is the requirement to work with people with complex additional needs relating to:

  • diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health
  • substance misuse
  • physical health issues
  • offending backgrounds
  • learning disability
  • family issues

Operating since 1998, the MDHST encompasses a core team of social workers and a tenancy sustainment and support service.

  • MDHST Core Team: consist of five social workers and a Mental Health Practitioner who provide professional assessment and support to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have complex needs

  • MDHST Floating Support: two social workers who provide tenancy sustainment and support services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have complex needs

The team utilises an assertive outreach model to engage individuals and families. MDHST work in partnership with the NIHE, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and other voluntary sector organisations to support individuals and families to access mainstream health and social care services and to access and sustain appropriate temporary and permanent accommodation.

The MDHST works collaboratively with statutory and voluntary agencies and regularly convenes case strategy meetings. The team advocates on behalf of service users and facilitate pathways and channels of communication between statutory and voluntary agencies to improve access to healthcare.

This multi-agency, social work-led service ensures a coordinated and holistic approach to supporting individuals and families with multiple needs.

Do you need help to find and keep a safe, secure home?

Since its launch in 2016, to date Extern has purchased ten houses, through which it is providing a place to live, and the necessary support, for people who were once homeless.

Operated in partnership with managing agent Rea Estates, Extern Homes offers a tenancy period of up to two years. During that time tenants will be offered and provided with tenancy support services, and access to training and employment opportunities, in order to empower them to move on with their lives.

They will also be provided with welfare advice services and the opportunity to gain an Independent Living Qualification through the Extern Works programme.

Following on from their time in an Extern Home, Extern helps tenants to secure longer term accommodation, based on having developed a positive tenancy history, and having been encouraged to save for a future tenancy deposit.

Extern Homes offers tenants:

  • Quality, affordable, and supported accommodation
  • A chance to get into the private rented sector without the burden of a deposit
  • A two-year tenancy followed by a rolling monthly agreement - Extern Homes’ objective is for tenants to move on after their two-year tenancy
  • A partially furnished property to help tenants save on the cost of furnishings
  • Additional support to help tenants maintain their tenancy

Extern Homes has been created to move people from homelessness to homes through a partnership with Extern, and Charity Bank, the ethical bank that exists to lend to charities and social enterprises.

The project also relies on support from the public through fundraising, gifts and donations.

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SUPPORTING: Communities


We can give you help or advice if you are already homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

118-122 Royal Avenue,

Tel: 028 9033 0433
Email: [email protected]