Child Homelessness and Housing Need in West Belfast: a Look at the Housing Executive Data

A review of figures from the eve of the Covid-19 pandemic to end March 2021 shows that child housing need is rising in West Belfast, and is increasingly concentrated in predominately Catholic areas Right to a Home | Wed Aug 04 2021

In West Belfast, one of the areas with the highest housing need in NI, acute housing need is concentrated in the three of West Belfast’s seven housing need assessment areas which are predominately Catholic: Inner, Middle and Outer West Belfast.

The chart below includes matching data sets from December 2019 and March 2021, giving the lowest possible estimate of the number of children in each category according to NIHE family type definitions:

The overall numbers of West Belfast children in housing need rose between December 2019 and March 2021. The number of children in households on the waiting list rose from 1,850 in December 2019 to 1,964 in March 2021, with around 92% of them in the predominately Catholic areas mentioned above.

With regard to housing stress, in December 2019 there were at least 1,564 West Belfast children living in households in these conditions. By end March 2021, this had increased to at least 1,615 children, 96% of them in predominately Catholic areas.

Finally, in December 2019 there were at least 1,390 children growing up in FDA homeless families in West Belfast. By end March 2021, the number in predominately Protestant areas had decreased by over a third, to just 33 (roughly 2% of the total). However the same figure had increased in predominately Catholic areas, raising the overall West Belfast total to at least 1,408 children living in homeless families.