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Volume 128: debated on Thursday 25 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has of the current cost of facilities for the homeless in Northern Ireland and what has been the cost in each of the last five years.

There are three statutory hostels for the homeless, which are run by the Eastern health and social services. Expenditure on them in each of the last five years was as follows:

A comparable figure for 1987–88 is not yet available.Expenditure by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on its homeless advice unit since it was established in November 1985 is as follows:

1 estimate to 31 January 1988
Detailed information on the cost of general facilities for the homeless provided by the Housing Executive and registered housing associations through the housing programme is not readily available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current funding for voluntary organisations dealing with homelessness in Northern Ireland; and what are the criteria to qualify for such funding.

In 1986–87, the Department of Health and Social Services and the four health and social services boards paid grants totalling £299,154 to voluntary organisations dealing with homelessness.Such grants are payable on a discretionary basis to voluntary organisations providing services similar or related to any of the health or personal social services under article 71 of the Health and Personal Social Services (NI) Order 1972.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the implications of the recent cuts in the Northern Ireland Housing Executive budget in the light of the transfer of responsibility for homeless people from the Department of Health and Social Security to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; and what additional funding he proposes to provide for this new function.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive's budget is determined each year as part of the public expenditure survey. The transfer of responsibility for the temporary accommodation needs of homeless people to the executive will be accompanied initially by a transfer of resources from the health and social services boards. Subsequent bids by the executive for additional funding to be directed towards meeting the needs of the homeless will be assessed in future public expenditure surveys.