Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Homelessness on the rise while repossessions triple

South Belfast’s homelessness numbers have increased in the last year, but remain just below the 1,000 mark, and the second lowest in the Belfast area in 2010/11 according to new Northern Ireland Department of Social Development figures.

South Belfast had 945 cases of households declaring themselves as homeless, of which 556 were accepted by NIHE (59 per cent) as being homeless Full Duty Applicants (FDA).

South Belfast’s results in 2009/10 had 886 cases of households declaring themselves as homeless, and 455 (51 per cent) were accepted as homeless.

These statistics come after the Northern Ireland Housing Executive figures were released in the DSD’s Housing Bulletin — published last week (July 28).

There are more homeless people in north Belfast compared to the rest of the city — 1,117 households declared as homeless.

Of the 1,117 cases, 632 were accepted as FDA by the Housing Executive as homeless (57 per cent).

West Belfast had slightly lower figures, with 1086 cases of households declaring homelessness — 501 of which were accepted by the Housing Executive (46 per cent).

The Shankill District had 471 cases, 285 of which were accepted by the NIHE.

East Belfast had the lowest number of households declaring themselves as homeless with 814 cases. 367 of these cases were accepted by the Housing Executive as FDA (45 per cent).

The Homeless Service Unit — who serve the whole Belfast area had 1111 cases of households declaring homelessness with 425 being accerpted by NIHE (38 per cent). Across the city there were a total of 5544 cases of households declaring homelessness and 2766 of these were accepted, making an overall of 50 per cent of cases being accepted in the city.

Between January and March 2011, 5,759 households presented as homeless to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The total for the financial year was 20,158, compared with 18,664 the previous year. The number of people made homeless in Northern Ireland has increased by around 1,500 in the last year according to the Housing Executive figures.

Family breakdowns or relationship disputes were the most common reasons for people seeking help from the authorities.

These statistics come at the same time as the number of home-owners across Northern Ireland whose properties were at risk of repossession tripled last year. The latest figures from the Housing Rights Service showed 1,872 writs were issued by the courts to home-owners in 2010, compared to the 500-600 in previous years.

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