Private landlords and housing associations operating in Dungannon district received over £9m in housing benefit, amid a social housing crisis that has left 624 in “housing stress”.
The statistics, provided through a freedom of information request from this paper, cover the 2012-13 financial term - the last complete year.
This news comes just one week after the Times highlighted the dire situation facing migrant workers in relation to housing in the area.
Whilst the Housing Executive already provides 1,783 homes in the district, the council said some 1,091 applicants were on waiting lists for somewhere to live in December 2013 - 624 of those categorised as “in housing stress”.
And just as in nearby Cookstown, single people in need of affordable housing make up the largest portion of the list with 424 in need, 247 of those labelled as “in stress”. The second largest group is ‘small family’ with 389 waiting, 218 of which are urgent.
Whilst the small adult, large adult, older person and large family categories, together make up under a third of the total waiting list for Dungannon with 278 applicants, but over half of that number (159) are “in stress”.
But the news is not all bad as there are plans in place to build a further 177 properties across Coalisland, Castlecaulfield, Dungannon town and Moygashel between 2014 and 2017.
But a Social Housing Need Assessment has determined that 441 new homes are required in the area over the next five years, while there is “an unmet housing need requirement of 302 units for Dungannon District”.
The Housing Executive’s Gerry Flynn, said: “There is a lot of work that needs to be done to meet housing need, improve the stock and provide support for the most vulnerable in the community.”