Numbers in housing need continue to spike
This morning the Department for Communities released the latest edition of its Housing Bulletin for April to June 2023. The statistics show that there are 45,292 households on the social housing waiting list with 73% (33,130) experiencing housing stress. Over the last decade, the number of households on the social housing waiting list has increased by 9.5% while the numbers in housing stress have risen by 47.8%.
The vast majority of households in housing stress have homelessness status, equating to 26,745 households in June 2023. In March 2013, the equivalent figure stood at 12,431 so the number of households with homelessness status has increased by 115% over that time.
Commenting on these figures, Nicola McCrudden, Chief Executive of Homeless Connect said:
“The housing and homelessness figures continue to head in the wrong direction. Over the last decade, the number of households experiencing housing stress and homelessness keeps rising. Put simply, there isn’t enough affordable social housing to meet need and the problem with supply is ongoing.
We know it is possible to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness. Other societies have managed to do it through a well planned and properly funded housing supply strategy. However, for this to work, we need effective government. A stop start government isn’t going to build more homes.
The continuing stasis around governance here is having very real consequences. The inability to implement vital long-term plans, such as the housing supply strategy, and to fully fund the homelessness strategy are contributing to a deepening crisis. Ultimately there is a human cost as thousands of families and individuals are struggling to make ends meet and to keep a roof over their heads.
Recent polling for Homewards, conducted by Ipsos Mori, found that 57% respondents in Northern Ireland indicated that they believed Government here is doing far too little to respond to homelessness. This compared to 35% of respondents in Scotland and 27% in Wales. This needs to change.
Failure to act will see more people experience homelessness with all the consequences this will have them for their wellbeing. We can do better, but only with the right leadership, the right policy and the right resources.”
Notes to the editor:
- Homeless Connect is the representative body for the homelessness sector in Northern Ireland with member organisations providing homelessness services including temporary accommodation, street outreach, day centres and floating support www.homelessconnect.org
- You can read the Department for Communities Housing Bulletin for April to June here.
- You can read the historical housing list data on p2-4 of this response to an Assembly Question tabled by Andy Allen MLA and answered by the then Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey MLA.
- You can find the full Homewards polling data on the Ipsos Mori website.