Sinn Féin’s Sandra Duffy has claimed the Department for Communities’ Homelessness Strategy 2012/17 has failed after the Northern Ireland Audit Office reported it has had limited success addressing homelessness in Derry and elsewhere.
NIAO boss Kieran Donnelly reported the strategy has not achieved its goals and, furthermore, the reasons cited by DfC for the North’s disproportionately high statutory homelessness rate compared to the rest of the UK were not supported by evidence.
Colr. Duffy said: “The report notes that homelessness is more than simply people sleeping in the streets, it is also about people and families having to live with relatives, in temporary accommodation or living in properties not suitable to their needs. The report makes it clear that not only has there been a 32 per cent increase in the number of households designated as statutory homeless over the last five years but that the Housing Executive was unable to produce first hand evidence or published statistics to show why the rate of homelessness is so high or that they had been able to prevent people from becoming homeless. Whilst the report voices a concern about the possible abuse of the Housing Selection Scheme it also needs to take account of a recent UN report which highlighted the impact of unequal access to social housing behind the high proportion of Catholic households on the waiting list and registered as statutory homeless.”