Single men ‘account for third of Northern Ireland’s homeless population’
Lack of suitable housing, separation from a partner or family, or unemployment have contributed to a ‘perfect storm’, a charity says.
A third of those presenting as homeless in Northern Ireland last year were single men, official statistics showed.
Lack of suitable housing, separation from a partner or family, or unemployment were the main causes.
The Welcome Organisation, a Belfast-based charity that supports homeless people, said not enough affordable houses were being built.
Those people are falling through the net Sandra Moore
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.
“Those people are falling through the net. We are heading for a perfect storm.”
In total, 18,180 households presented as homeless to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in 2017-18, a decrease of 2% from the previous year (18,573), according to figures from the Department for Communities.
The household types with the highest number of homeless presenters in 2017-18 were single males (33%) and families (32%).
In 2017-18, of the 18,180 households presenting as homeless, 11,877 households (65%) were accepted and 4,688 (26%) were rejected.
A total of 1,837 were discharged, meaning housed.
Ms Moore said people’s mental health was being affected.
“The situation deteriorates and they become entrenched,” she said.
She added homeless people encountered criminal justice, health and educational issues.
DFC housing monitor released today states only 1507 social build completions 2017/18, Waiting list is 36,198 , with 24,148 in housing stress.— Welcome Organisation (@homelessbelfast) December 4, 2018
18,180 presented as homeless with 11,877 deemed to be in priority need. We are heading for a perfect storm!!!
“They are setting people up to fail and unfortunately we see the future as being more bleak than it is now,” she said.
SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said there should be more one-bedroom homes built.
He added: “I have worked with many single males 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.”