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The Homelessness Monitor: Northern Ireland 2020

The homelessness monitor is a longitudinal study, commissioned by Crisis and is funded by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It provides an independent analysis of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments across the United Kingdom. Separate reports are produced for each of the UK countries.

This update report provides our account of how homelessness stands in Northern Ireland in 2020, or as close to 2020 as data availability allows. It also highlights emerging trends and forecasts some of the likely future changes, identifying the developments likely to have the most significant impacts on homelessness. The key findings are as follows;

  • Housing, homelessness and welfare policy development in Northern Ireland has been severely hampered since January 2017 following the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
  • The potentially serious economic, political and social implications for Northern Ireland of a disorderly Brexit are casting a long shadow over all areas of public policy.
  • The number of rough sleepers across Northern Ireland was estimated to be 38 in November 2018. Of these, 16 were in Belfast – up from only five a year earlier.
  • In 2018/19 some 18,200 households were logged as homelessness presentations in Northern Ireland, of which more than two thirds – 12,500 – were judged as “Full Duty Applicant” cases.
  • The Supporting People budget has been protected but frozen in Northern Ireland for a number of years, meaning that there has been a year-on-year reduction in value.
  • The supply of social rented housing is one of the main pressure points in the Northern Irish housing system.
  • In 2017/18 lettings to homeless households accounted for no less than 88% of all Housing Executive lettings to new tenants, as compared with 39% of all social lets to new tenants in Scotland, and only 21% of all local authority lets to new tenants in England.
  • Annual temporary accommodation placements for 2017/18 was the highest of the decade, at just over 3,000.
  • The number of concealed potential households who would want or expect to live separately is estimated at between 70,000 and 112,000: 9-15% of all households in Northern Ireland.

To download the Homeless Monitor for Northern Ireland Click Here


Fitzpatrick, S., Pawson, H., Bramely, G., Wood, J., Stephens, M., Frey, J. & McMordie, L (2020) The Homelessness Monitor: Northern Ireland 2020. London: Crisis. Retrieved from