Extern Homes: Providing shelter, safety and stability

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At Extern Homes is helping individuals experiencing homelessness in Northern Ireland to rebuild their lives.

Social Problem

As with most areas of the UK, the cost-of-living crisis combined with a severe lack of affordable homes is causing significant problems across Northern Ireland. The number of homeless households has more than doubled since 2013.1


Extern supports people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, along with those who face barriers to housing, such as refugees and ex-offenders.


Extern Homes offers temporary accommodation but also wanted to provide longer-term affordable homes. Declan Morris, Project Manager at Extern Homes, shares, “The system was walking away from people. Houses weren’t available, or if they were available, they weren’t affordable. That’s not good enough. We wanted to do more; we needed to do more. Rather than wait for those houses to be delivered, we took a leap of faith.”

Extern had limited reserves so borrowed £358,000 from Charity Bank. Declan shares, “To get to where we are today, with 10 properties, was only achievable with the loan arrangement with Charity Bank.”

“To get to where we are today, with 10 properties, was only achievable with the loan arrangement with Charity Bank. It’s a bank with a purpose. You could see that in the relationships we had with the people at Charity Bank.”

Declan Morris, Project Manager at Extern Homes


Extern Homes is now able to offer two-year tenancies so that people can move on from hostels and other temporary accommodation. It supports a wide range of tenants, from individuals to couples, single parents and families.

Sheila Irwin became homeless after moving out of a shared property and is now an Extern Homes tenant. She says, “[Before I came here] I was a bit of a wreck. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. This house is fantastic. When you have a normal house to live in, everything else around you normalises. You feel human again.”

Crucially, the homes are semi-furnished, and Extern supports people throughout their tenancy and beyond, for example with training and employment opportunities. People are able to build a positive tenancy history and save for a deposit, so that when the time comes to move on, they can do so with confidence.

“I love working for Charity Bank. The social impact of the loans that we provide is immense.”

Bernie Teggart, Regional Manager at Charity Bank

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1280 loans totalling over £500m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.