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Homelessness

Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were registered as homeless in each Housing Executive district in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (107629)

Those registered as homeless are full duty applicants: persons who are homeless, in priority need (i.e. people with families, young persons at risk of sexual or financial exploitation, single parents and vulnerable members of society) and not intentionally homeless. For the financial years 2001-02 to 2005-06 the numbers registered as homeless are as follows:

Housing Executive district

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Belfast1

212

278

164

177

284

Be!fast2

284

296

314

344

430

Belfast3

207

212

171

204

229

Belfast4

223

259

205

251

278

Belfast5

116

116

136

164

251

Belfast6

412

562

492

440

512

Belfast7

216

275

422

363

512

Housing Advice Centre

468

524

475

400

389

Bangor

312

428

379

401

423

Newtownards

317

425

376

384

395

Castlereagh

227

243

317

312

338

Lisburn

404

538

502

456

533

Lisburn (Dairyfarm)

101

144

125

162

280

Downpatrick

266

331

318

296

286

Banbridge

113

121

137

134

156

Newry

227

266

347

354

418

Armagh

96

111

104

111

121

Brownlow

77

100

84

122

136

Portadown

83

81

82

120

114

Dungannon

152

159

150

200

274

Fermanagh

121

158

231

219

260

Ballymena

336

298

383

369

487

Antrim

274

329

381

256

324

Newtownabbeyl

191

216

187

157

202

Newtownabbey2

173

172

171

212

252

Carrickfergus

171

209

175

179

180

Lame

127

145

142

160

134

Moyle

35

37

33

45

58

Ballymoney

60

64

114

111

155

Coleraine

164

260

276

290

269

Waterloo Place

316

339

282

222

244

Waterside

239

216

197

181

191

Collon Terrace

237

282

244

219

237

Limavady

88

87

92

122

112

Magherafelt

124

111

172

129

91

Strabane

85

69

116

99

85

Omagh

57

56

46

41

44

Cookstown

63

63

52

64

65

N. Ireland

7,374

8,580

8,594

8,470

9,749

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assistance his Department provides to homeless people in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (107630)

The Department for Social Development and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive provide assistance in various forms in terms of accommodation through housing and hostels, support through Supporting People and benefits through the Social Security Agency.

In addition to the provision of general housing, the Department specifically provides funding for the building and renovation of hostels for the homeless and, in its five-year social housing development plan, has made provision to grant aid registered housing associations to build new or upgrade 20 hostels. Of these, seven are under construction or are planned to start this year.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive provides funding in respect of services associated with the use of temporary accommodation, including the payment of housing benefit. It also provides funding to a range of voluntary bodies for special projects to tackle and prevent homelessness; these include the provision of practical support for projects such as outreach services, the Homeless Support Team, housing advice services, dealing with street drinkers, rent guarantee schemes and education programmes.

Over the last three years, the Department made funds available around Christmas time for non housing items to be provided to homeless agencies.

The Department, as part of its wide remit for providing assistance to vulnerable groups including the homeless, also makes funding available through the Supporting People programme for housing support services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) meetings and (b) correspondence he has had with representatives of the Simon Community on his Department’s policy on homelessness in each of the last five years. (107689)

The Department for Social Development is responsible for establishing policy on homelessness in Northern Ireland. The current policies were given a statutory basis in the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 and since then there have been regular and ongoing discussions and exchanges of correspondence about the implementation and delivery of policy initiatives with a range of key stakeholders, including the Simon Community.

There have not, however, been any meetings or exchanges of correspondence with the Simon Community specifically relating to policy on homelessness.