Department for Communities release latest homelessness numbers

by | Mar 14, 2023 | News

On March 10th the Department for Communities published the latest edition of the homelessness bulletin for July to December 2022. This bulletin contains some of the latest figures on housing and homelessness in Northern Ireland.

Homelessness Presentations 

During July to December 2022, 7478 households presented as homeless. This was a fall of 8.2% on the previous six months when 8,144 households presented. This figure, however, was higher than the equivalent period in 2021 when the number of presenters stood at 7407 (a rise of 1%). The three most common reasons for presentation were: accommodation not reasonable (1763 households); sharing breakdown/family dispute (1634); and loss of rented accommodation (1310);

Homelessness in local Government Districts

The three council areas with the highest number of presenters per 1000 population were: Derry and Strabane (6.2 presenters per 1000); Belfast (6.1); and Mid and East Antrim (4.6). The average across Northern Ireland was 3.9 presenters per 1000 population. Belfast Council area recorded the most homelessness presentations, with 2097 presentations recorded between July to December 2022. This was followed by Derry City and Strabane with 939 and Mid and East Antrim with 637. Fermanagh and Omagh Council recorded the fewest presentations with 279, followed by Mid Ulster with 347 and Lisburn and Castlereagh with 398.

Households homeless due to the loss of rented accommodation.

One of the most notable trends evident in recent years has been the sharp rise in the number of households presenting as homeless due to the loss of rented accommodation.

Over the course of 2022, 2,826 households presented due to this reason (1516 between January to June and 1310 for July to December).

In 2021, 2290 households presented for this reason – a rise of 23.4% on the previous year. The biggest factor leading to this increase is a rise in the number of landlords selling their properties. 1569 households presented for this reason in 2022 compared to 1245 the previous year, an increase of 26%. In 2020, the equivalent figure stood at 641 presentations, so there has been an increase of 147.7% since then.

Homelessness Acceptances

The number of households accepted as homeless during July to December 2022 fell to 4538 (down from 5122 in the previous six months – a fall of 11.4%). During the same period in 2021, 4829 households were accepted as homeless (a fall of 6%).

From July to December 2022, 1290 households who presented to the Housing Executive were deemed not to have homelessness status following assessment under the legal tests set out in the 1988 Housing (NI) Order. This compared to 1501 households January to June 2022 (fall of 14%). The main reasons for this were due to households being found not to be in priority need (629 households) or being found not to be homeless (518).

Children accepted as Homeless 

In 2022, 6972 children were accepted as homeless as part of households presenting to the Housing Executive. 4133 of these children were aged 0-8.

This compares with 6848 in 2021 and 6500 in 2020. In terms of reason for acceptance, “accommodation not reasonable” remains the most cited reason (1407 households) followed by  “sharing breakdown/family dispute” (792) and “loss of private rented accommodation” (752 households).

Households and number of children in temporary accommodation.

The number of households in temporary accommodation continues to rise, with 3945 households in such accommodation in January 2023 compared to 3658 in the six months before (rise of 7.3%). In January 2019, this figure stood at 2065 – a rise of 91%.

4236 children were in temporary accommodation in January 2023 – a rise from 3913 in July 2022 (up 8.3%). In January 2019 2433 children were in temporary accommodation (up 74% since then.)

You can read Homeless Connect’s response to the latest statistics here.

Full figures available on the Department for Communities website


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