Revealed: migrant housing plight in Dungannon town

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A major new study which will lift the lid on the impact of migrant workers on Dungannon’s housing market has been launched by the Housing Executive.

The news comes after it was revealed that the Dungannon District holds the record for the greatest change in racial make-up of any UK council in the last decade.

Preliminary findings released by the HE show that the housing shortage is so dire in the town that many migrant workers have ended up homeless.

In addition, the government body has called on Dungannon’s private landlords to cap rent increases after it revealed that the average rent paid by migrant workers to private landlords was a third higher than the housing benefit allowance.

The HE found that demand and supply of private rented accommodation in the town have risen sharply in the last five years driven largely by the arrival of large numbers of migrant workers.

Such is the shortage that more than 120 social dwellings have been allocated to migrant workers in the town.

Although antipathy to migrant workers has lessened there has been ongoing incidents of racial tension in the Lisnahull and Ballygawley Road areas, according to the HE.

Migrant workers living in Dungannon face the greatest problems in the private rented sector, with three quarters of respondents in a HE survey claiming that their landlord did not provide them with a rent book.

Furthermore, almost a third of migrant tenants did not have a written tenancy agreement.

Alarm has also been raised by STEP that many homeless migrant workers in the local district are still falling through the net.

“Migrant workers are among the most vulnerable during periods of economic downturn”, said the organisation. The HE has chosen to focus the study on Dungannon and Larne as they occupy both ends of the spectrum - Dungannon with large numbers of migrants, and Larne with very low numbers.