Number of people in housing stress in Northern Ireland rises

Official figures revealed 26,387 applicants on the waiting list for social housing at the end of March.

Homeless man

Figures released by Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities reveal there were 26,387 people on the social housing waiting list on 31st March in “housing stress” – likely to be living in unsuitable accommodation.

According to reports, that’s an increase of 9% on the 24,148 households facing stress a year before – the highest level recorded since records began in 2002/03.

The number of households presenting as homeless stood at 18,202 at the end of 2018/19, rising 5% from the year before when the figure stood at 11,877.

As outlined, single males (32%) and families (32%) were the biggest presenters of homelessness in 2018/19.

As reported by 24housing, recently released housebuilding starts in NI over the July – September quarter was 1,922 or a 14% drop on the same quarter last year.

On the figures, Justin Cartwright, CIH Northern Ireland national director, said: “This is concerning – for some time we’ve seen steady growth in the number of new homes built each year, driven by the recovery of private sector development.

“[These latest] figures show a disappointing couple of quarters over the spring and summer, dropping back to a level of activity seen four years ago.”

He added: “Official estimates suggest Northern Ireland needs around 7,200 homes each year to keep up with things like population growth and demolition of older housing. This is a conservative figure, but one that we’re now on course to miss this financial year which could impact on prices.

“One thing that is beginning to hit housebuilding is the lack of investment in new wastewater infrastructure. No housebuilding can be carried out in areas where sewage treatment works are at capacity, and without greater investment the issue will only get worse.

“The lack of this infrastructure that enables new housing developments is worrying – we need an Executive back to ensure that Northern Ireland Water is adequately funded.”

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