Street Soccer NI
Street Soccer NI is a charity that uses football to bring positive change to people’s lives. They work with disadvantaged groups including the homeless, long term unemployed, refugees, people with addictions, mental health issues, ex prisoners and more.
Street Soccer NI has 7 weekly projects in Northern Ireland (5 projects for men, 1 for women and 1 for people with learning disabilities) with around 70 people a week coming regularly to the project. They help each regular player to develop a support plan and they support them to meet their needs and achieve their goals including housing, education, volunteering and employment.
Their main funding comes from the Department for Communities, Housing Executive, East Belfast Mission and Irish football Association.
The Northern Ireland Assembly is currently discussing proposals to separate the housing management and other functions of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, and to transfer them to new bodies. This has raised many concerns about the delivery of services for homeless people.
As pressures on social housing grow due to the economic crisis and rising unemployment, concerns exist that bureaucratic changes may fail to provide successful protection of homeless people (Crisis.org, 2014).