Extern’s homeless and hostels services joined together for a pair of special ‘Meet the Team’ events to mark Homelessness Awareness Week in the first week of December.

Guests at the events, held in both our Royal Avenue services hub and our Mid Ulster & South Tyrone hostel in Cookstown, included NI Assembly members, local councillors and other political representatives from both areas, who met with staff to find out more about Extern’s work supporting people who are homeless.

In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘Having the Conversation’, a special panel discussion was also held at the Belfast event to look at the issues which are currently affecting the sector. Chaired by Extern Homes Manager Declan Morris, the panel included representatives from Homeless Connect and the NI Housing Executive as well as staff from our frontline homeless and hostels projects.

Among the key issues covered in the debate were the need for multi-year funding for services, recruitment issues within the sector and how to tackle the lack of adequate social housing for those wishing to move on from temporary accommodation.