Aontú Derry Cllr Emmet Doyle has strongly criticised the NI Housing Executive leadership and the PSNI for the continuing placement of individuals in hostels in Derry from Belfast and its environs who have complex needs and serious convictions.
“We saw only recently that an individual was arrested for an alleged sexual assault in the City centre who has been placed in accommodation in the City despite having complex needs and over 110 convictions. Derry is not a dumping ground for the NIHE Belfast office.
I have raised in the strongest possible terms that this practice must end both with the local regional NIHE manager and the PSNI. I am informed that the PSNI have vetted some of these individuals and signed off on them coming to our City to stay at ‘B&B’ accommodation despite obvious warning signs.
The local housing executive manager has not been consulted about these placements which the NIHE Belfast office making the call to send individuals down the Glenshane to Derry. I have asked the PSNI simply – what type of individuals would they deem unsuitable for this accommodation is someone with 112 convictions is given the green light?
The pandemic has highlighted the structural requirements to house people who find themselves homeless, but Derry can’t be seen as a soft touch when it comes to individuals with complex needs and a history of crime or violence. We are a welcoming City for those who are genuinely in need and come to our City to stay for a short time whilst they are housed in their home locality, but patience in the community has run out with the idea of the Belfast NIHE out of sight, out of mind policy.”