Ulster Unionist Social Development spokesperson Michael Copeland has reacted to the DSD Minister’s announcement that the social housing development programme for 2012/13 to 2014/15 sets out plans to build 4,600 new homes.
The East Belfast MLA said:
“Whilst the re-announcement of 4,600 new homes is to be welcomed, it simply is not enough to make the necessary impact on the housing list.
There are 40,000 current applications for housing, a great number in housing stress.
One cannot help but ask if, given current rate of increase in the waiting list and the announced and proposed programme of new build, when, if ever, will we get on top of this issue?
There is no question that the shortage is also directly related to the £25 million taken out of Housing Associations as a result of the Stormont Budget.
Part of the answer may be a reinvigorated and restructured Housing Executive which is able to borrow money against its assets to be used for the improvement and upgrading of the stock and for the first time in decades, allow the Housing Executive to undertake new build on some of its land bank resources.
A re-examination of the current points system which has played no small part in bringing about a n alarming situation were 77 per cent of Housing Executive tenancies are without work, may also be required.”