Housing Executive: Millions spent on temporary accommodation in Derry

Over £2.5 million has been spent on temporary and emergency accommodation by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) in the Foyle Constituency in the last five years, it can be revealed.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 8:30 am
The main Housing Executive district office at Waterloo Place in Derry.

The figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by blog site ‘Beyond the Pillars’ show that from 2011-2015 a total of £18.8 million has been spent by NIHE across Northern Ireland.

In Derry, a total of £2,665,259.89 has been spent has been paid out for temporary accommodation for those presenting as homeless, although that does not necessarily mean that applicants are without accommodation.

The provision of this service by NIHE means that accommodation in the private rented sector, bed and breakfasts, hostels owned by NIHE, private hostels and hotels have all been utilised to provide shelter for people.

In 2008, NIHE also introduced a block booking scheme for accommodation to the tune of £350,000 per year-however, this figure is not included in the figures that have been released.

The figures relating to Derry mean that in the last three years, from September 2013 to February, 2016 two of the city’s three NIHE district offices have ranked in the top ten in Northern Ireland in terms of expenditure for the provision of temporary and or emergency accommodation.

In this timeframe, Derry’s Number 1 NIHE office at Waterloo Place has shelled out £1,210,021.60 and ranks fifth on the overall list, whilst distrust number 2 office at Collon Terrace ranks sixth and has spent £984,207.84.

The available figures for expenditure on private rented accommodation and block booked accommodation in 2013 reveal that the Waterloo Place office paid out £252,744.22, the Collon office a total of £211,485.80 and in the Waterside the spend was £65,697.48.

The next year, 2014, the total spent by all three NIHE offices in the city was £522,853.41 and last year, 2015, the total expenditure was £475,535. 43.

Since 2011 the outlay for provision of accommodation in NIHE hostels was £120,792.86. In 2012, the figure rose slightly to £123,386.03.

2013 saw an overall outlay of £124,388.23. Two years ago in 2014, the total rose to £146,872.44 and last year in 2015, the final figure was £146,838.38.

This means that the total outlay on accommodation provided by NIHE for their hostels has been £530,077.94.

In the same period in Derry the total for the provision of ‘non-standard’ accommodation was £324,701.

‘Non-standard’ accomodation as defined by NIHE refers to exceptional placements in bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and hotels where access to temporary accommodation is immediately available.

The figures have also revealed that in Northern Ireland in the last five years there have also been 342 instances of large families being housed in single dwellings, which are single bedroom flats or bedsits.

Large families for the purposes of the provision of this type of accommodation are classified as two adults and three or more children.

In October last year, now former SDLP MLA, Pat Ramsey tabled a question at Stormont asking the Minister of Social Development for the number of people in Foyle awarded full duty applicant homelessness points broken down by Housing Executive District.

In response it was revealed that as of September 30, 2015, District Office Number 1 at Waterloo Place had 224 people on their list, District Office Number 2 at Collon Terrace had 179 people on their list and District Office Number 3 in the Waterside had 198 such cases listed.

Overall this amounted to 601 cases.