22/11/2017

Homelessness In NI Increases 32% In 5 Years

Homelessness in Northern Ireland has risen by 32% in the past five years, according to a report.

The NI Audit Office's (NIAO) 'Homelessness In Northern Ireland' report also found that the government's strategy to tackle the issue had "limited success".

Almost 12,000 households were accepted as homeless in the past year.

The latest available figures also indicate that an average of six people sleep rough every night, however there are no official counts.
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Head of the NIAO, Kieran Donnelly, said: "Contrary to popular belief homelessness is not restricted to people who sleep rough, it encompasses a much wider range of individuals in a variety of circumstances.

"The practice of allocating a high proportion of available social homes to those declared under the wide category of statutory homeless carries risks.

"It can create an incentive for households who desire, rather than need to move from one house to another, to declare themselves statutory homeless.

"The Housing Selection Scheme has been operating since 2000, with few changes, and it is widely accepted that the system could be open to abuse.

"A fundamental review of social housing allocations policy is long overdue and proposals are currently out for public consultation."

(CD)

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