Demand that NIHE take over Regina Coeli women’s hostel to secure vital services raised by Unite with officials from Department for Communities

Protesters and staff at Regina Coeli House

Unite the union calls on Legion of Mary to do ‘right thing’ and transfer over its ownership of women’s hostel to safeguard provision for vulnerable women

Women-only facility providing support for homeless and vulnerable is best secured by Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Unite the union met with officials from the Department for Communities yesterday afternoon and presented the case for Minister Deirdre Hargey to intervene to safeguard Northern Ireland’s only ‘women-only’ hostel providing support to homeless and vulnerable women. The meeting followed requests from the union for a meeting with the Minister and protests to safeguard the facility.

Regional Secretary of Unite in Ireland, Jackie Pollock spoke after the meeting:

“We presented the concerns of our members and those of residents and indeed the local community to the officials to pass onto the Communities’ Minister. Through the Housing Executive’s Supporting People programme, Minister Hargey’s department funds the services currently provided at Regina Coeli House. She must now intervene to remove the threat of closure and ensure continuity of support and accommodation for homeless women”.

The Legion of Mary has told the press that they cannot sustain services at the building.

“Unite is calling on the Legion of Mary management committee to do the right thing and transfer ownership of Regina Coeli House to the Housing Executive who should now be prepared to run and sustain the service”.

Unite Regional Equalities and Women’s Officer Taryn Trainor stated that the union’s focus remained on the service provision for vulnerable women:

“It is outrageous that the only thing preventing the closure of the sole women-only facility providing support to the homeless, those with addiction or mental health challenges or survivors of domestic violence has been the inspiring action of the minimum-wage workforce. Stormont must intervene now to safeguard this vital service.

“If the Legion of Mary say that Regina Coeli House is not viable, it still remains the responsibility of the Department for Communities and the Housing Executive to secure this service for vulnerable women. In particular it is not acceptable that women – who may have experienced intimate partner violence or abuse from men – are forced into mixed accommodation.

“It is now becoming clear that there has been uncertainty over the sustainability of this provision for some time. Questions have to be asked of the Housing Executive that if they knew of this uncertainty, what they have done in the interim to avoid closure”, Ms Trainor concluded.

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