Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ard Fheis 2004 - McCann calls for urgent review of social housing in the north

28 February, 2004


Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Fra McCann in support of motions 101 & 103 Housing called for an urgent review into all aspects of social housing in the north and we call on the Department of Social Development to carry out that review.

In motion 101 we ask for your support for an urgent review into all aspects of social housing in the north and we call on the Department of Social Development to carry out that review.

But I believe the review now needs to include a review of the Department of Social Development record as the people responsible for the management and delivery for a social housing programme -- they have failed miserably in this task.

The decision 5 years ago to turn the Housing Executive role as a housing provider into that of a housing advisor has been a disaster.

We are just not building enough new houses for the social housing market. In every year 90% plus of all new homes are built by private contractors.

As the stock of social housing decreases every year new homes are just not coming back on stream.

At the same time the cost of new homes continues to rise and there are more and more mortgage repossessions every year.

Whilst Housing Associations have a role to play in housing, to give them the sole responsibility to provide social housing was a mistake.

Housing Associations have failed to deliver the social housing programme and over the past 5 years these associations have fallen short on targets. Year on year hundreds of houses that they should have built - that should have come on stream did not.

Because of this inability to oversee the social housing programme, Sinn Féin have for years said that this legislative change on who can provide social housing would prove disastrous; and it has.

What it ahs shown up is the incompetence of the Department of Social Development in being he managers of social housing.

At a time when waiting lists are growing and more and more people are being put into hostels for the homeless, where some are living for 4 years, the people who have a responsibility to provide the houses fail and those who are supposed to manage don't; then urgent questions need to be asked.

Only a far-reaching review into every aspect of social housing will get to the bottom of this mess.

There is a right to affordable housing. And I want to also take this opportunity to commend our TDs and their initiative to have the right to housing enshrined into the 1937 Constitution

I also ask people to support motions 102, 103 and 104.

Connect with Sinn Féin