Speaking as workers from Regina Coeli women’s hostel relaunched their campaign for women’s only supported living accommodation, West Belfast MLA Gerry Carroll called on the Communities Minister and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to live up to promises they made and to commission replacement services now. Mr Carroll stated:
“The fact that Belfast’s only supported living hostel for women was able to shut its doors without proper intervention from the Minister for Communities was a disgrace. Women workers who ran an inspiring 12-week occupation of the site were left to find new jobs and the hostel bedrooms lie empty.
“The occupation ended when the workers were made promises by the Minister that replacement accommodation would be opened, with their jobs secured and room for homeless and vulnerable women. Shamefully, this has not been delivered. I was always sceptical about the Minister’s proclaimed commitment to save this service, as I felt her efforts to save the service weren’t adequate at all.
“Indeed, as the workers continue the job of supporting women on the street on a voluntary basis, the Minister’s lack of action stands in stark contrast, especially as the deaths of homeless women are reported.
“Homeless and vulnerable women of West Belfast and across the city deserve better. The Minister and the NIHE need to take urgent action to commission a replacement hostel for vulnerable women. No excuses.” ENDS