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McCann – DSD must work to create new homes

25 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Fra McCann MLA has expressed concern at the Department for Social Development dependence on buying private 'off-the-shelf' housing at full market value as opposed to building new homes that would be significantly cheaper.

Mr McCann said:

"The increased purchase of private off-the-shelf and existing housing is a worrying development given the increased cost involved. The 2007/08 Housing Programme included the purchase of 270 private off-the-shelf units with an average cost per grant funded dwelling of £176,000.

"The cost of building a new home would be considerably less. For example the purchase of 3 private house would cost over £500,000 and provide assistance in bring 3 families off the waiting lists yet for the same money the minister could potentially build 6-8 new homes and bring double that number off the housing waiting lists.

"I do not think that this approach is best value for money and is certainly not helping to make the sort of significant inroads in the levels of housing need required and promised by the Minister.

"Record numbers of people are waiting to be housed and many of them are watching to see if the minister delivers on her promise to end the housing nightmare faced by those who are homeless or have been on waiting lists for years.

"It should also be remembered that the minister has at her disposal £1.2 billion worth of land which should also still be on the agenda for discussion with the construction industry to barter land for the building of social and affordable housing." CRÍOCH

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