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HOMELESS ACTION: Human Rights Indicators and Benchmarks Below are the indicators which have been established by members of Homeless Action and will be monitored over the next 12 months: #1: % of people satisfied with responses to maintenance problems in hostels Baseline: 45% Benchmark: 70% in 6 months 90% in 12 months Hostel resident’s perspective: “We went without heat and hot water for a month in here, now we’re all walking around sick.” International human rights context: “All beneficiaries of the right to adequate housing should have sustainable access to...energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal...” - General Comment 4 para. 8b, Committee on the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Local policy: “All requests for maintenance will be responded to in the timeframes specified in the client handbook.” – Simon Community NI License to Occupy Agreement #2:

% of people satisfied with access to activities in hostels Baseline: 33% Benchmark: 66% in 6 months 90% in 12 months

Hostel resident’s perspective: “There isn’t anything to do in here, it just leads to people having drink and drug problems.”

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International human rights context: “The steps to be taken by a State Party to achieve the full realization of this right [to work] shall include technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual.” – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 6(2) Local policy: “The purpose of transitional accommodation is to help people recuperate sufficiently in order to move into more independent settings. Transitional accommodation should therefore be ‘places of change’ and provide access to a range of services including employment, vocational training, further education and recreation.” – Northern Ireland Housing Executive Homelessness Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017 #3:

% of people satisfied with internet access in hostels Baseline: 38% Benchmark: 76% in 6 months

Hostel resident’s perspective: “One great idea would be to provide internet access in here, so we’d be able to do things like look for jobs, look for houses and communicate with family.” International human rights context: “Without internet access, which facilitates economic development and the enjoyment of a range of human rights, marginalized groups remain trapped in a disadvantaged situation, thereby perpetuating inequality both within and between states...The internet offers a key means by which such groups can obtain information, assert their rights, and participate in public debates concerning social, economic and political changes to improve their situation.” - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Human Rights Council, Seventeenth session Agenda item 3, United Nations General Assembly Local policy: “DFP have a target of ensuring that by 2014 the number of citizens using the Internet in Northern Ireland has increased to 78% of the adult population from current levels.” – Department of Finance and Personnel (http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/index/technology-and-innovation/information-

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strategy-and-innovation-division/isid-citizen-facingservices/digitalinclusion.htm

#4:

% of people satisfied with food security in hostels Baseline: 41% Benchmark: 95% in 6 months

Hostel resident’s perspective: “You can’t buy much because it gets stolen or won’t fit in the fridge. You end up living day to day, sitting skint and hungry.” International human rights context: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food...” – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 11(2) “All beneficiaries of the right to adequate housing should have sustainable access to...means of food storage” - General Comment 4 para. 8b, Committee on the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

#5:

% of hostel residents who have been homeless for less than 26 weeks Baseline: 38% Benchmark: 76% in 12 months

Hostel resident’s perspective: “I’m starting to feel comfortable in these surroundings, it’s starting to feel like home and I don’t like it.” International human rights context: “The right to housing should not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having a roof over one's head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity. Rather it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity.” – General Comment 4, para 7. Committee on the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Local policy: “No one should remain in transitional accommodation any longer than they need to, otherwise the cycle of homelessness can be entrenched. The stay in transitional housing should therefore be ‘time limited’ which 3


emphasises the importance of exit pathways and support plans to prepare those living in transitional housing for a move to more settled accommodation.” - Northern Ireland Housing Executive Homelessness Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017 #6:

% of hostel residents who are homeless for the first time Baseline: 45% Benchmark: 70% in 12 months

Hostel resident’s perspective: “They’re always pressuring me to look for private rental houses. I’d rather not, because I’ll just end up back in here when I can’t pay the rent one month.” International human rights context: “While the most appropriate means of achieving the full realization of the right to adequate housing will inevitably vary significantly from one State party to another, the Covenant clearly requires that each State party take whatever steps are necessary for that purpose. This will almost invariably require the adoption of a national housing strategy which, as stated in paragraph 32 of the Global Strategy for Shelter, "defines the objectives for the development of shelter conditions, identifies the resources available to meet these goals and the most cost-effective way of using them and sets out the responsibilities and time-frame for the implementation of the necessary measures". Both for reasons of relevance and effectiveness, as well as in order to ensure respect for other human rights, such a strategy should reflect extensive genuine consultation with, and participation by, all of those affected, including the homeless, the inadequately housed and their representatives. Furthermore, steps should be taken to ensure coordination between ministries and regional and local authorities in order to reconcile related policies (economics, agriculture, environment, energy, etc.) with the obligations under article 11 of the Covenant.” - General Comment 4 para 12, Committee on the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights Local policy: “We have developed a range of targets regarding homelessness so that we can measure how successfully we deal with it. These include: • to limit the incidence of repeat homelessness to under 10% (currently 9%)”

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– ‘The Objectives of The Homelessness Strategy’ Northern Ireland Housing Executive, 2012 (http://www.nihe.gov.uk/homelessness_objectives)

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Homeless Action: Human Rights Indicators and Benchmarks Nov 2013  

In 2012, Simon Community Northern Ireland (SCNI), the largest provider of services to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, est...