Homelessness in Northern Ireland has increased by 32% in the past 5 years with figures showing that for the year 16/17 around 12,000 people were accepted as homeless. This alarming figure was highlighted in the latest Homeless Monitor for Northern Ireland*, a report commissioned annually by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, University of New South Wales, and Heriot Watt University in Scotland.
The Simon Community say that “The reality is that as many as 136,000 adults in Northern Ireland are living without a home of their own, often sharing with family or friends, because they are often not seen or recorded on official statistics. Proportionately the level of homelessness is higher in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the UK”
The Northern Ireland housing executive also states that almost 20,000 people and families asked the Housing Executive for help dealing with homelessness last year. This is ongoing problem and its clear the true figures of the amount of people and families are not fully stated as a large amount of people have fallen through the cracks. But what is causing such large numbers of people to become homeless?
Research done in 2015 found that one of the main reasons was “Accommodation not reasonable” followed by 18% of people saying it was done to sharing breakdown/ family dispute. And with a further 13% saying there was a loss of rented accommodation.
It’s clear to see that a lot of work needs to go so that those who have found themselves homeless in terms of creating more social housing and support and guidance for those after they have found themselves homeless so that people can quickly come out of the situation. It’s also important that funding is there for charities and organizations like the SOS Bus, Simon community, Depaul and the many more who are out on the streets tackling this issue daily.
As well as these numbers you can also contact your Students’ Union and Student Support at Ulster University if you ever feel in danger of becoming homeless or are currently in a situation where you are homeless.