In the last five years, the Housing Executive has paid £18.8 million to provide temporary, and in cases emergency accommodation for people across the region.
The shocking figures have been released to BtP in a detailed Freedom of Information response. We asked the Housing Executive to outline:
“The cost, per district since 2011 of providing emergency accommodation including hotels, bed and breakfasts and other types of accommodation broken down by accommodation type, and the number of individuals including children that have been placed in these since 2011 broken down by month, as well as the number of times in total per month these types of accommodation have been used.”
In total, a whopping £18,823,275.42 has been paid out for temporary accommodation for those presenting as homeless, this does not necessarily mean that the applicants are without accommodation.
This includes properties such as private rented, bed and breakfasts, NIHE hostels, private hostels and hotels. In 2008 NIHE introduced a Block Booking accommodation model which continues to be used. Income for this Block Booked accommodation circa 350K per year has not been included in the figures we were given.
By far the highest amount paid out in NI has been to a 70-bed hostel in Belfast’s University Street – Queen’s Quarter – which has been paid an eye-watering £4.7m from 2011 – this is almost comparable to the entire cost of providing temporary accommodation by all Housing Executive offices in Belfast and Derry. It only accepts referrals from NIHE Homeless Services Unit and Emergency Duty Team.
All this, despite the fact that according to the Minister for Social Development, only 316 people in the entire S Belfast constituency have been accepted by the Housing Executive as ‘homeless’.
Queen’s Quarter Housing, University Street Belfast
The highest individual NIHE area office spend is Lisburn, at £1.8 million, and the smallest from Cookstown, with a spend of just under £6,000 – though a health warning is attached to these – some offices such as that on the Shankill, have not provided full information and the Housing Executive stress that a new IT system introduced in 2013 is the cause – though other offices can provide full costs from April 2011 until Feb 2016.
The top ten spenders on temporary accommodation are listed below – note that massive difference between Queen’s Quarter – which is one establishment and not a Housing Executive office, and the rest.
The top ten area spends are outlined below.
We spent a number of days analysing the data and mapping these to major regions across NI.
As expected, all of the Belfast offices spend more together than any other area, followed closely by the three Derry offices at almost three million – bigger than all of the areas marked in red.
Lisburn on its own has a significant spend, followed, strangely, by Bangor and Newtownards in the North Down constituency which many would deem to be somewhat affluent in many places.
If we look at how these costs are to be addressed, the building of social housing should be a huge priority. However, it has been revealed that from the 2010-11 period until the present day, there has been a relatively low number of housing units built right across NI – indeed it fell year-on-year from 2011 until 2013/14.
Perhaps this should be a huge priority for the incoming Assembly.
Tomorrow, we outline who is being placed in what accommodation, from elderly people to families. Tuesday at 7pm.
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