West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

61 in Strabane face uncertain future as Housing Benefit cut by 50

Published: 19 December, 2011

She said,
"Michaela Boyle MLA secured these statistics in response to a written question she had posed to DSD Minister Nelson Mc Causland.

"Depending on the anniversary date/or review date of original claim, each of the 61 people in single 25-35 age group this category has now been advised by letter when the major reduction in their Housing Benefit rate entitlement will take effect from 1st January until 1st April.

"The reality behind these statistics is that many of those affected will now face losing their privately rented accommodation. No longer eligible for support as a single person, they are now being told to seek shared accommodation. But this type of multiple occupancy housing simply just does exist in areas like Strabane and neither do most have the kind of family ties that would support them in a crisis. With the waiting local list for social housing already extensive and increasing and with local sheltered/homeless accommodation already fully subscribed, it is inevitable that many of those who make up this statistic will end up finding themselves homeless.

"Earlier this month a majority of councillors supported a Sinn Fein motion calling upon the DSD Minister to come before Strabane District Council to explain what he intends to do to avert a homeless crisis. A response from his Department stated that the Minister would be monitoring the situation but given the clarity we now have on the numbers who will be affected locally and the total lack of accommodation alternatives the Minister now needs to tell us what measures he is going to put in place to avert a looming homeless crisis. ENDS