Belfast Telegraph

‘Dramatic’ rise in number of homeless in Londonderry

More than 1,300 people in the Derry and Strabane District Council area were classified as homeless by the Housing Executive (NIHE), new figures show. Image posed by model
More than 1,300 people in the Derry and Strabane District Council area were classified as homeless by the Housing Executive (NIHE), new figures show. Image posed by model
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

More than 1,300 people in the Derry and Strabane District Council area were classified as homeless by the Housing Executive (NIHE), new figures show.

The head of the Housing Executive in Londonderry said that a significant number of people presenting as homeless have been single people with addiction and mental health issues.

NIHE area manager Eddie Doherty said that more needs to be spent on support services in the city.

"Over the last number of years we have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of young people coming through our doors who have very complex needs, such as addiction and mental health issues," he said.

"We have facilities in the city like the Methodist Mission and Damien House and if it wasn't for them we would be in a far worse position.

"We do need more facilities and support services and we have been lobbying hard within the Housing Executive to bring those services to the city."

Mr Doherty added: "More and more often we have to find accommodation with specific support needs, it is not just someone who has presented as homeless.

"When someone come in with addiction or drugs or mental health issues, it is particularly challenging to find a solution for those people.

"We are working very hard but the people coming through our doors have complex needs."

Mr Doherty's plea comes as the Housing Executive this week outlined its total investment in the Derry and Strabane Council area.

During the year 2018/19 the NIHE had a £124.72m overall housing spend, which included grant aid to housing associations for the building and rental of new houses.

Across Northern Ireland, it channelled some £82.3m into services to help the most vulnerable, including £10.1m of direct funding on homelessness and £72.2m through its Supporting People Programme.

The funding provided by Supporting People includes £26m on services which assist homeless households.

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