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The Homelessness Monitor: Northern Ireland 2013

The Homelessness Monitor: Northern Ireland 2013 is the first annual report of an independent study, funded by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in Northern Ireland.

Key findings

  • One in eighteen (5.7%) of all adults in Northern Ireland say that they have experienced homelessness, with 1.4% saying this had happened in the last five years, and 0.9% sleeping rough or staying in temporary accommodation in that period. There are strong associations between experience of homelessness and younger age groups, social renters and to a lesser extent private renters, and single people and lone parent households.
  • Statutory homelessness rose significantly in Northern Ireland in the first years of the millennium, and has remained at historically high levels since 2005/06. In 2012/13 19,400 households presented as homeless in Northern Ireland, with just over half –9,900 – assessed to be ‘Full Duty Applicants’.
  • Despite the much more extreme ‘boom and bust’ experienced in Northern Ireland’s housing market than elsewhere in the UK, mortgage repossessions continue to account for only a very small proportion of statutory homelessness cases (3%).
  • While the flow of new homelessness cases has remained fairly steady over recent years, the use of temporary accommodation has been steadily rising: placements increased by 11% in the two years to 2012/13, with most of this increase attributable to family households.
  • Rates of statutory homelessness acceptances are higher in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the UK (13.4 statutory acceptances per 1,000 households, as compared with 2.3 in England), partly as a result of policy and administrative practices that differ from those in Great Britain. This may start to change if a Scottish-style ‘Housing Options’ approach to homelessness prevention is implemented in Northern Ireland.
  • There were an estimated 123,000 ‘concealed’ potential household units seeking separate accommodation in Northern Ireland in 2010-12, equivalent to 16.8% of all households. The proportion of sharing households appears to be marginally higher in Northern Ireland than in the UK as a whole, at just under 2%. Overcrowding is less prevalent in Northern Ireland than in the other UK countries, affecting 2.2% (16,000) of households.


Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramely, G., Wilcox, S. & Watts, B. (2013) The Homelessness Monitor: Northern Ireland 2013. London: Crisis.