Homelessness

Scroll down to find out more about this issue - including a summary for children and young people, background information including the relevant Children's Rights, how we are monitoring Government and our work in addressing the issue.

NICCY Dudes Children In crumbling House

Summary for children and young people

We are not exactly sure how many people – children, families and young people – are homelessness or face housing insecurity due to the ‘hidden’ or ‘informal nature’ of much homelessness. This includes those staying temporarily with family and/or friends, ‘sofa-surfing’, living in over-crowded conditions, squatting or rough sleeping. Young people, particularly those who are care experienced, are at increased risk of hidden homelessness.

NICCY has asked researchers from Queen’s University Belfast to carry out in-depth research with children and families facing homelessness or housing insecurity to give these groups a voice and to better understand their lived experience. A final rights based research report will be published in February 2023. This will be used to help NICCY make recommendations to Government.

Commissioner's response to UN Special Rapporteur report on extreme poverty - Cover Homeless Family

Information on homelessness

The true extent of homelessness and housing insecurity amongst children, families and young people in Northern Ireland is difficult to ascertain due to the ‘hidden’ or ‘informal nature’ of much homelessness, which includes those staying temporarily with family and/or friends, ‘sofa-surfing’, living in over-crowded conditions, squatting or rough sleeping.

Young people, particularly those who are care experienced, are at increased risk of hidden homelessness.

Furthermore, the needs of those who are homeless or facing housing insecurity will often extend beyond the need for secure and safe housing, as there will often be a range of complex health and / or social issues within the family unit.

Relevant Children's Rights

Views from young people

NICCY Dudes Guy Sitting Down Distressed

“And you know you sorta get used to this chaotic lifestyle, where you know nowhere is permanent…” Young person

(Quote from Pathways to Youth Homelessness, Simon Community et al, 2019)

Image of two Distressed People

“Then at tech, my background caught up with me – people found out I was homeless and so fake Facebook accounts were made to harass me.” Young person, NI

(Quote from Pathways to Youth Homelessness, Simon Community et al, 2019)

Teenager Looking Distressed Monotone

“Better access to mental health services and a clearer, easier system for young people in relation to the housing process.” Young person, NI

(Quote from Pathways to Youth Homelessness, Simon Community et al, 2019)

NICCY Dudes Children In crumbling House

“Housing is a massive issue, especially if you are care experienced. We need better financial support.” Young person NI

 

Monitoring Government – what is government doing about homelessness?

Whilst the Northern Ireland Government has a range of housing strategies in place, gaps persist in relation to support for young people with disabilities, families and young people subject to immigration control and young care leavers.

This includes supports specific to mental health, addiction and human trafficking.

Our work on homelessness

NICCY has commissioned researchers from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) to carry out research to better understand the scale and impact of homelessness affecting children and families facing homelessness or housing insecurity, as well as the legislative, policy and procedural context around this issue. A final comprehensive rights-based research report will be published in February 2023, which will be used to inform NICCY’s recommendations to Government.

More information on our work on the impact of homelessness on children and families will be available here.

 

Publications and resources

UK Covid-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference

The Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) was created in accordance with ‘The Commissioner…

UK Covid-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference