SDLP Communities Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has raised concerns that demand for emergency and temporary accommodation throughout the COVID pandemic has resulted in numbers of vulnerable individuals being placed in the Foyle constituency.
Speaking at Communities Committee briefing on budgetary pressures, Chief Executive of the Housing Executive Grainia Long, agreed the scale of demand for emergency housing which has trebled since 2020, has presented a challenge.
Said the Foyle MLA: “COVID-19 Homelessness funding has been a crucial provision over the past two years to support people in housing crisis but I have concerns that it has not been spent strategically.
“Demand for temporary accommodation has trebled since the outset of the pandemic and with this vital emergency funding due to end in April 2022 there are 900 temporary placements now at risk.
“That is extremely worrying when we consider the current financial context; we can only expect to see that demand grow.
“The Housing Executive agree that money spent on securing private accommodation for temporary accommodation is eye-watering.
“Money which would have been better spent on the prevention of homelessness.
“COVID money has been thrown at this problem, creating a situation whereby demand for emergency housing has resulted in a lucrative market.
“I fully appreciate the efforts made and challenges faced by the Housing Executive to ensure that everyone here has a roof over their head.
“But I’m concerned that places, like Foyle, have become destinations for temporary accommodation tourism.
“People from across the North are being placed in Derry and we know many of those are very vulnerable and sometimes volatile individuals.
“This situation is completely unsustainable, not just financially but it’s unsafe. The game of pass the problem cannot continue.
“On a weekly basis my constituency office is being told that temporary accommodation for desperate families from Derry is not available.
“How then can the Housing Executive justify using the availability that is there, to accommodate people from outside the constituency?
“Action is needed now to address the temporary accommodation crisis in a strategic and sensible manner,” added Mr Durkan.Tags: