The Northern Ireland Audit Office Report on Homelessness: A Missed Opportunity

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This article reviews the Northern Ireland (NI) Audit Office report on
Homelessness in Northern Ireland (2017), placing it in the context of the
existing body of knowledge regarding the efficacy of legislative, policy and
strategic approaches to homelessness. A key emphasis is on the extent to
which the report might support and direct meaningful change in respect to
preventing and mitigating homelessness in NI, given that this issue has
attracted enduring and intense policy attention, but with more limited substantive progress than might have been hoped for. The report’s highly critical focus on deficits in data collection, evaluation and monitoring processes represents a welcome contribution to longstanding demands for improved performance in these respects, albeit that the Audit Office’s own analysis appears to be framed by a flawed understanding of homelessness causation. On the critical topic of increasing housing supply and reducing housing demand, the report’s failure to make recommendations that might support the type of radical change in responses to homelessness evident elsewhere in the UK (namely, housing-led, rapid-rehousing and Housing First approaches), is likely to come as a disappointment to many.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-113
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Homelessness
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


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