Homeless Connect Press Release
This morning the Department for Communities released the latest statistics on homelessness in Northern Ireland. The statistics show that the number of households in temporary accommodation here have substantially increased over the past three years. In February 2022, 3596 households were in temporary accommodation. In January 2019, the equivalent figure stood at 2065 households. This is an increase of around 74% during this time.
The number of children in temporary accommodation also continues to rise. In February 2022, 3763 children were living in such accommodation. In January 2019, this figure stood at 2433. This is an increase of around 55% over this time.
Nicola McCrudden, Chief Executive of Homelessness Connect, said:
“These figures clearly illustrate the ongoing homelessness crisis that we face. Increasing numbers of people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads due to the fallout from the pandemic and general hardship that many people are facing.
Our members who provide accommodation and support services remain under enormous pressure.
With the rapidly rising cost of living, more and more households are struggling to afford the cost of keeping their homes. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, it looks unlikely that the cost of living will fall any time soon. Without greater support from the state, it is highly likely more people will tip over the edge into homelessness.
We are acutely aware that £300 million is available, that could make a real impact, but remains unallocated due to the fall of the Executive. I believe that where there is political will there is a way. We urge our political leaders to explore every avenue to find a way to spend this money to support those struggling with the cost of living and to support the homelessness sector as it responds to the huge demand it is currently facing.
The levels of homelessness shown in these statistics are not inevitable. With the right policy choices and proper resourcing, homelessness can be prevented and reduced.
In the upcoming election to the Assembly, we need parties to commit to positive policies and funding which will help change this situation. We have produced a manifesto with ten policies which would make a real difference if they were enacted. We need an executive united around the need to lead this society on the journey to end homelessness.
Failure on this front will have devastating consequences for those impacted. We urge our political leaders to work together now and after the election to deliver a better outcome for our society.”