Assembly hears of Derry homeless crisis
Deep concern about the level of homelessness in Derry has been expressed by all the main political parties during a special Assembly debate tabled by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson.
Ms Anderson said:
"I tabled the adjournment debate on Tuesday to highlight the very major problem of homelessness in Derry.
"And I was pleased to see a recognition from the other parties that action must be taken on this issue.
"The stark reality is that there are currently some 2300 people on the housing waiting list in this city and Sinn Féin are calling for a number of measures in order to address this problem.
"There needs to be a co-ordinated approach between DSD, the Education Department and the Health Department to ensure that adequate services, plus more social and affordable housing are provided.
"New thinking is also required to tackle the wider problem of the housing crisis because it's clear that what has gone before has simply not delivered.
"The housing waiting list is at its highest level in over 30 years and I find it incredible that we now find ourselves arguing for one of the very same demands that brought people onto the streets in the Civil Rights campaign - the right to a decent home.
"We need innovative cross cutting new approaches and given that an overhaul of the Planning System here has been pledged, we should be incorporating social responsibility clauses into all major housing development applications.
"Property developers have made countless millions by building housing projects across the North.
"And while they are perfectly entitled to do so, they must also realise they have a responsibility to those who are either priced out of the market or find themselves on a housing waiting list.
"Therefore, shouldn't the planning process incorporate a requirement on developers to provide a certain percentage of social and affordable housing as part of any development?
"Homelessness and unaffordable housing are among the biggest issues facing our city and it is up to all of us to work together in order to come up with the solutions." ENDS