New Housing Executive figures indicate that as of end March 2022, the total number of NI households waiting for a social home had risen by 455 on 2021 figures. The total for households in housing stress had risen by 1,119 households since March 2021, while the total for FDA homeless households had risen by 1,761 households.
As illustrated below, these increases continue an upwards trend that has become entrenched in recent years.
Altogether, the data indicates that
- there were 6,993 more households on the waiting list in March 2022 than four years previously - an increase of 19%
- there were 7,047 more households in housing stress in March 2022 than four years before – an increase of 29%
- there were 5,916 more FDA homeless households in March 2022 than four years before – an increase of 33%
A closer look at changes between 2021 and 2022
As of end March 2022, the number of NI households waiting for a social home had risen by a percentage point as compared to March 2021, to 44,426 – an increase of 455 households on last year’s figure of 43,971 households on the waiting list.
Overall, at end March 2022 71% of waiting list households – 31,407 of them – were judged to be in ‘housing stress’ (or with 30+ points under the Housing Executive’s Housing Selection Scheme). This represents an increase of 2 percentage points, or an additional 1,119 households in housing stress, compared to last year. (The end March 2021 figure for households in housing stress – 30,288 – was equivalent to 69% of the waiting list at that time).
A growing subset of this group – 23,978 households at end March 2022, or 54% of the waiting list – were recognised as being Full Duty homeless applicants. This is an extra 1,761 homeless households from March 2021 FDA homelessness figures of 22,217 households, at that time just over 50% of the waiting list.
Grainia Long of the Housing Executive warned in recent days that homelessness here is “as bad as I’ve seen it in my career”. The Department for Communities has pledged to address the ever-rising need for social homes under the housing initiative announced in November 2020. It has increased the budget for new build social housing and has made other changes, many of them however targeted at people on intermediate incomes rather than those on the lowest budgets.
At the same time, the spiralling cost of living is adding to the pressures on households. Watch this space -