On September 21 2023, the Department for Communities published the latest edition of the homelessness bulletin for January to June 2023. The bulletin includes the latest homelessness statistics for Northern Ireland.
From January to June 2023, 8,531 households presented as homeless. This was an increase on the equivalent period in 2022 of 386 presentations or 4.7%. The three most common reasons for presentation were: accommodation not reasonable (2,139 households, up 14.5% on 2022); sharing breakdown/family dispute (1,864, up 0.27% on 2022); and loss of rented accommodation (1,412, down 6.8% on 2022). In the loss of rented accommodation category, just over half of the presentations were caused by the sale of the rented property by the landlord.
Homelessness in local Government Districts
The three council areas with the highest number of presenters per 1000 population were: Derry and Strabane with 7.4 presenters per 1000 (1,109 presentations in total); Belfast with 6.7 presenters per 1000 (2,317 presenters); and Antrim and Newtownabbey and Mid and East Antrim both having 5.0 presenters per 1000 (722 and 689 presenters in total respectively). The average across Northern Ireland as a whole was 4.5 presenters per 1000 population.
A striking statistic in the latest homelessness bulletin is a rise in the number of repeat presenters coming to the Housing Executive. In 2022/3, 1,382 households presented as homeless to the Housing Executive within a year of their last presentation. This compared to 1,098 households in 2021/2, an increase of 284. This is an increase of 25.9%.
The number of households accepted as homeless during January to June 2023 rose to 5,281, a rise of 159 acceptances or 3.1% on the equivalent period in 2022.
In terms of reason for acceptance, accommodation not reasonable remains the most cited reason (1,701 households, up 12% on the same period the year before) followed by sharing breakdown/family dispute (971, down 1.6%) and loss of private rented accommodation (838 households, down 15%).
From January to June 2023, 1,017 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 1503 households January to June 2022, a fall of 486 households (32%). The main reasons for this were due to households being found not to be in priority need (543 households) or being found not to be homeless (374).
Children accepted as Homeless
In January to June 2023, 3,532 children were accepted as homeless as part of households presenting to the Housing Executive. 2,556 of these children were aged 0-11. This compares with 3,846 in the same period in 2022, a fall of 8.2%.
Households and number of children in temporary accommodation
The number of households in temporary accommodation continues to rise, with 4,204 households in such accommodation in July compared to 3658 in July 2022, an increase of 14.9%. In January 2019, this figure stood at 2065 – this figure has more than doubled since then. 1,806 of the households living in temporary accommodation had been living in such accommodation for over a year.
4,569 children were in temporary accommodation in July 2023 – a rise of 656 on July 2022 (up 16.8%) in that time. 3000 of these children are aged 9 and under. In January 2019 2433 children were in temporary accommodation (up 87.8% since then.) This is equivalent to 152 school classes.
You can read Homeless Connect’s response to the latest statistics here.
Full figures available on the Department for Communities website