Catholics wait six months longer for social housing in the North
Catholics are continuing to experience the longest waiting times for social housing in Northern Ireland, according to a new report by the Equality Commission (ECNI).
The study of housing inequalities in Northern Ireland, which is published today, reveals that Catholics are waiting six months longer than Protestants for social housing.
According to the report, social housing waiting lists for 2004-2009 and for 2013/14 show that Catholics experienced "the longest median waiting times for social housing at the point of allocation in Northern Ireland".
While the wait for social housing increased for all groups over these periods, "more substantive" increases were seen in households identified as Catholic or 'other'.
Between 2004 and 2009, the average waiting list time for Catholic households was eight months, compared with six months for 'other religion' households and six months for Protestants.
But by 2013/14, the wait had nearly doubled for Catholics to 15 months, while 'other religion' households had more than doubled to 13 months. The wait for Protestants had increased by a third to nine months.
The longest wait for Catholics was in west Belfast (28 months) followed by 27 months in south Belfast, 22 months in Ballymena and 15 months in east Belfast.
The ECNI statement also warned of limited access to "appropriate accommodation for Irish Travellers" and that ethnic minority and migrant homes "may be vulnerable to racial attacks" with an increase in criminal damage crimes with a racist motivation between 2013/14 and 2015/16.
It added that migrant workers were "extremely vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination in housing".