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Quarterly Housing Bulletin highlights serious failure in housing provision and home owner protections

28 July, 2009 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Fein MLA for West Belfast Fra McCann has said the recent release of the Quarterly Housing Bulletin highlights once again the serious problems we face in the provision of social housing.

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

“What the DSD bulletin highlights is the serious lack of social housing being built and the large amounts of people still declaring themselves as being homeless. Alongside this there is a huge increase in those having mortgage possession actions taken against them.

“The state of housing provision and responses to deal with those people who have been hit hardest by the economic downturn is at crisis point.

“Large parts of the North have not had a social house built in their area for many years. This worrying trend is having an impact on many with waiting lists increasing and no hope for people wishing to be housed.

“Homelessness figures show that the numbers of people declaring themselves homeless in the first 3 months of this year remains high at 4,991 just a decrease in 2% from the same period last year.

“On top of this actions for mortgage possessions, which sits at 1,020 for the first 3 months of this year, a 35.3% increase over last year.

Fra McCann went on to say:

“Why is the Minister of Social Development not doing any thing about this? I remember her March ‘07 statement about the new housing agenda. This included help for those losing their homes because they fell into difficulties. This has not been forthcoming.

“Margaret Ritchie has done very little from that period to help these people besides holding a consultation and putting some small amount of money towards the advice sector.

“The core of the problem remains that without action being taken the increase in the figures will continue.

“The failure to deal with the seriousness in homeless figures is also an indictment on the Ministers ability to tackle this problem head on. With falling prices in the construction sector and large amounts of land under her control we should be getting more houses for less money. This however is not the case.

“The Minister needs to tell us what she proposes to do to deal with this mounting problem. What strategies are in place to tackle these increasing figures? Margaret Ritchie cannot keep refusing to answer the fundamental questions on housing provision. Political spin does not house people.”

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