A Grim Milestone: In Disturbing Increases on Previous Years, Over 4,400 Belfast Children Now Recognised as HomelessThe number of homeless households across Belfast is up 10% on last year's total, to 7,545. The rise in the number of homeless children is stark: in West Belfast, there are now 49% more homeless children than in 2019, and in North Belfast -- even more disturbingly -- there are 91% more homeless children now than in 2019. Where will this end?
Analysis of Housing Executive social housing waiting list statistics obtained by Freedom of Information request reveal a marked increase in the number of households recognised as Full Duty Applicant homeless by the Housing Executive.
The annual figures – up to end March 2022 – indicate a total of 7,545 FDA homeless households across Belfast, up over 10% on the 2021 figure of 6,851 households the preceding year. This equates to 694 additional newly homeless families.
What is even more worrying, data analysis reveals, is that the 7,545 households with FDA status in Belfast in March 2022 include amongst them at least 4,462 children under 18 – these are children growing up in families that are officially recognised as homeless.
Broken down by area of Belfast, figures reveal a total of 2,854 homeless households in West Belfast. This is a rise of 8.6% – or 228 extra households – on 2021 figures.
Of these homeless West Belfast households, 2,567 (or 90%) live in predominately Catholic Inner, Middle and Outer West Belfast.
In 2019, analysis of Housing Executive data revealed that there were at least 1,390 children growing up in FDA homeless households in West Belfast as a whole. These new figures show that by March 2022 that had increased to at least 2,068 children – an increase of 49% since 2019. The new total equates to, overall, an increase of 678 children.
At end March 2022 North Belfast had 1,951 FDA homeless households. (This is a rise of 13% – or on aggregate an additional 226 extra households – on 2021 figures, when there were 1,725 FDA households in the area as a whole.)
In 2022, 81% (1,586 households) of these homeless households were in predominately Catholic North Belfast 1.
In 2019, there were at least 570 children growing up in FDA homeless households in North Belfast as a whole. In 2022 that has increased to at least 1,086 children – an increase of 91%. This equates to, on aggregate, an extra 516 newly homeless children.
More housing data and analysis will follow – as well as information on what duty bearers in Belfast and across the north are – and aren’t – doing to address this reality.