The annual street count carried out by the Housing Executive, along with other statutory agencies and homeless organisations
Sixteen people were encountered on the street between the hours of 2am and 5am on the evening of the 6th November. In 2017, the count found five people sleeping rough at the same time of year.
The Welcome Organisation, Queens Quarter Housing, Depaul, Salvation Army, Hosford House, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the PSNI assisted Housing Executive staff with the exercise.
This annual snapshot follows standard practice of establishing the number of rough sleepers across Europe and the UK.
All of the sixteen people encountered on that night were known to the services and were able to avail of emergency temporary accommodation.
One has their own home and of the remaining 15 people, all were either known by or engaged with the staff conducting the street count with only 2 people willing to accept an offer of temporary accommodation.
Colm McQuillan, our Director of Housing Services;
“The Housing Executive works closely with outreach services in Belfast and is aware of the increased prevalence in the city of rough sleeping and street activity. The most recent Street Count has confirmed this trend. A street count provides a consistent way of capturing information that we use to monitor and plan better services - it also gives us a good indication of the trend in the number of people sleeping rough over time.
Throughout the year, we work with all agencies to do all we can collectively to ensure we have sufficient temporary accommodation to meet demand and we are particularly aware of this coming into the winter period.
Following updates from the sector and on the back of this survey we are taking steps as a priority to extend the number of emergency accommodation options available in the city, in case there is a further need over the winter months.Whilst it is important to measure this on a regular basis, our priority is to make sure these individuals are receiving the help and shelter they need and we are working in collaboration with our partners to address this."