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Report into Housing Executive homelessness failures demand greater accountability

20 May, 2004

Sinn Fein Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has said that the Westminster Report highlighting the failure of the Housing Executive to develop a strategy to tackle homelessness for 14 years and the excessive costs this failure has incurred as a result of housing people in Bed and Breakfast accommodation demand greater accountability.

Mr McCann said:

"The failure of the Department of Social Development and the Housing Executive to develop a strategy to tackle homelessness is well known.

Against the backdrop where homelessness increased by 50% between 1999/2000 and 2002/03 and still appears to be spiralling out of control it is unforgivable. Behind the statistics there are lives that are blighted by the failure of DSD and the Housing Executive to put in place a strategy to support people who become homeless back into secure accommodation.

"It is also a disgrace that the failure to have in place a coherent strategy has meant that thousands of pounds have gone into the pockets of private landlords running B&B, despite the fact that everyone accepts that B&B's represent a massive cost to the tax payer and acknowledged as unsuitable except in emergencies.

"This report must lead to greater scrutiny of the Housing Executive to ensure that it delivers on commitments. There must be genuine accountability and real partnership." ENDS

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