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Sinn Féin calls for urgent action on mortgage relief to avoid repossessions

13 February, 2009

Fra Mc Cann Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast has called on the Minister of Social Development to initiate the long awaited Mortgage Relief Scheme.

Speaking at the launch of an initiative by the Housing Rights Service entitled 'Preventing Possession Initiative' Mc Cann said 'Almost one year ago the minister stated that she would bring in a mortgage relief scheme for those facing possible eviction. We still await that scheme'.

This morning I attended the launch of 'Preventing Possession Initiative' which is aimed at providing much needed advice and support for those under threat of home repossession and facing court action. This timely event coincides with the news that actions for repossessions have risen by 64% compared to last year's figures, meaning that 3,628 have lost their homes in the last year.

Fra mc Cann commends the work of the Housing Rights Service and, in echoing their excellent advice, he urges people who have fallen into financial difficulties to seek early advice about their situation as it is nearly always possible to prevent eviction. 'People must come forward to seek the assistance; sticking your head in the sand won't make the problem go away.

The Minister could take a leaf out of Housing Right Service's book and do something proactive and practical to assist people. She must explain why there has been such a delay in introducing her mortgage relief package in this very urgent situation; the delays have no doubt resulted in many people having their homes repossessed, a circumstance which may in some cases have been avoided had a package of assistance been in place.'

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