Homelessness groups in Northern Ireland have begun a major recruitment campaign in response to the ongoing pandemic.
Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland (CHNI) supported by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, is spearheading efforts to urgently fill many positions for organisations that provide temporary accommodation and support services to women, men and families.
CHNI, the umbrella organisation for 60 charities and groups, says Covid-19 has brought additional challenges for the sector.
Demand for temporary accommodation almost doubled at the start of the pandemic and the CHNI reports relationships and sharing arrangements are breaking down under the strain of the crisis.
Some 16,800 households presented homeless to the Housing Executive between 2019 and 2020.
CHNI Chief Executive Nicola McCrudden said a new recruitment hub has been established alongside a social media campaign to make people aware of new positions in the sector now and in the coming months.
“The homeless sector has come together with the common purpose of attracting and recruiting staff to provide desperately needed care and delivering essential support services in these unprecedented times,” she said.
“The sector offers opportunities for people who want to enter or have worked before in the care sector. The foundations for providing support to service users is all about the right people, and can offer a rewarding career path.”
Ms McCrudden said recruits to the sector are typically those who care about supporting people through what can be a difficult time in their lives.
“People who work in homelessness care about social justice, can step up to the challenges that service users experience and want to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
“Candidates range from people starting out in their career to those looking for a change in direction – sometimes following a redundancy or entering retirement. We have a range of posts from casual to full-time that will attract a diverse range of people."
Colm McQuillan, Director of Housing Services, Northern Ireland Housing Executive said: “The Housing Executive is very pleased to support this initiative. A career in housing and homelessness is extremely rewarding and the opportunity to work with and support some of the most vulnerable in our society brings with it enormous personal rewards.
“The current pandemic has brought increasing challenges for all of us, but none more so than those with no place to call home. I am proud of the work the Housing Executive, in conjunction with our partner agencies, the CHNI and the homeless sector have done collectively to support homeless individuals and families throughout the pandemic.
“But much remains to be done and this is therefore an exciting time to enter the sector. I would encourage anyone with a desire to help people to consider a career in the homeless sector and if you are interested in any of the opportunities outlined in this campaign to make an application.”
Prospective candidates can access the recruitment hub at http://bit.ly/Homelessjobhub.
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