04/12/2018

One Third Of NI Homeless Population Are Single Men

A third of those living on Northern Ireland's streets last year were single men, official statistics have revealed.

Lack of suitable housing, separation from a partner or unemployment are all believed to be contributing factors.

In total, 18,180 households presented as homeless to the NI Housing Executive in 2017-18, which marks a decrease of 2% from the previous year, the Department for Communities' figures show.

Out of those who came forward as homeless, 11,877 households (65%) were accepted, while 4,688 (26%) were rejected.

A total of 1,837 were dismissed, meaning they were housed.

The household type with the highest number of homeless presenters was single males at 33%, closely followed by families, 32%.

SDLP Councillor Paul McCusker said the statistics are definitely not a surprise, as single males are "often over-looked".
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"There are multiple reasons why single males slip through the cracks, such as a lack of suitable housing stock, a separation from a partner, becoming estranged from family, unemployment and so on," the Councillor for the Oldpark area commented.

"I have worked with many men who have hit rock bottom as a result of finding themselves homeless, forcing them to sofa surf, queue for night shelters or turn to the streets. Sadly it can also lead to unhealthy behaviours such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a way of coping with the situation."

Mr McCusker urged government officials to act to correct the issue.

"It is imperative that NIHE, alongside the Department, continue to tackle this issue head on, including recognising the need for more one bed occupancies to home single males in our society."

The Welcome Organisation, a Belfast-based charity that supports homeless people, attributed the shocking figures to the deficit in affordable housing compared with demand.

Chief executive Sandra Moore said: "If you have a mental health issue, if you have a dependency issue, if you for some reason are that bit more vulnerable or you have a chaotic lifestyle you won't be the tenant of choice.

"People are falling through the net. We are heading for a perfect storm."



(JG)

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