§ Rev. Ian Paisley
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimate of the number of homeless people in (a) Belfast and (b) Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
Current information in the form requested is not available at present, but a working group on the problem of the homeless has been set up to establish:
- (i) the nature and extent of homelessness;
- (ii) how successfully the present dual approach by the Department of Health and Social Services and the Housing Executive is meeting need;
- (iii) who is helped and by whom;
- (iv) the extent of unmet need.
The working group will report by Easter.
I understand from the chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive that the number of special status applicants — category A1 in the housing selection scheme — was 249 at 31 January, including 78 in Belfast.