28/08/2003

Homeless figures on the increase

The number of homeless families in Northern Ireland has risen by 16% in the last year, it was revealed today.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive said that almost 16,500 households had been presented as homeless. This figure is the equivalent to one in 50 households in Northern Ireland.

Expressing concern at the figures, Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Michelle Gildernew said: "There can be no acceptable level of homelessness. The latest figures showing that the number of homeless cases here has risen by 16% are shocking. It is an indictment on the failure of the homelessness strategy to tackle the problem.

“We need more resources to meet the demand for emergency accommodation and support accommodation. However the problem runs far deeper. We need to address the entire housing policy.

“It is not enough for good words and paper policy initiatives. To help people avoid homelessness, to bring people out of homelessness and to continue to provide support for people escaping homelessness requires sustained action and political will.”

Today's figures also showed that more than 40% of those who approached the Housing Executive for new accommodation in the last year blamed domestic conflict for doing so.

Intimidation, meanwhile, accounted for 9% of applications.

(MB)

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