4% hike in homeless presentations in Derry/Strabane puts 'enormous pressure' on Housing Executive

A four per cent hike in homelessness presentations in Derry and Strabane last year has placed 'enormous pressure' on the Housing Executives temporary accommodation capacity, its Chief Executive Grainia Long has said.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:52 pm
Grainia Long

In 2020/21, 2,084 households presented as homeless in the district - a four per cent increase from 1,994 in 2019/20.

Of these 1,146 (55%) were accepted as homeless and there were 1,250 placements in temporary accommodation.

Ms. Long, reflected on an unprecedented year, which saw the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, while briefing Derry City & Strabane District Council's Governance and Strategic Planning Committee this week.

She said: “COVID-19 presented huge challenges for us, as we moved staff out of offices to work at home, while lockdown restrictions and supply issues meant a backlog in tackling repairs and delays in much needed upgrade schemes on our estates.

“Despite this, and thanks to the dedication of our staff, we were able to continue to deliver services to tenants and communities to an extremely high level.

“£38.2m was invested in new-build accommodation in the City and district, which saw 1,082 units of housing get underway, while housing completions for the year were 207 meaning targets were met/exceeded for the year, despite the pandemic.

“We provided over £130,000 in grant funding to support local groups in the District Council area, across several funding streams, including our Community Grants, Community Safety and Community Cohesion programmes.

“In terms of homelessness, there were 2,084 homelessness presentations last year, with 1,146 homelessness acceptances.

“Given the necessity to social distance in our hostels, this situation placed enormous pressure on temporary accommodation, and as we emerge from the pandemic our reset plan, The Way Home, has been fully funded by the Department for Communities.

“I’d like to sincerely thank the Derry City & Strabane Councillors for their interest in our work and I very much look forward to engaging with them as we move away from the Covid-19 pandemic in the year ahead.”