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Up to 10,000 Housing Executive grants cancelled

22 August, 2009 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has written to the Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie and the Housing Executive asking why up to 10,000 grant applications have been cancelled by the Housing Executive.

Sinn Féin have been concerned at the growing numbers of people who have been turned down for assistance for Housing Executive grants to carry out urgent works to their homes - many of which are essential either because of the poor condition of the homes or work is required because of the medical condition of the applicant.

Mr McCann said:

“Sinn Féin have learnt that upwards of 13,700 people are on the waiting list for grants – and that that as many as 9,700 people, who have had there applications fully processed, have had their application frozen indefinitely.

“This is causing serious problems. The failure to carry out this work will have a negative impact on people’s health and in the deterioration of these homes.

“There is also a cost to people in terms of getting the relevant documents and detailed plans in place only for them to be refused at the last hurdle, leaving many people with bills for thousands of pounds.

“The Housing Executive and Minister need to explain why this is happening and what is being done to ensure that the conditions in these properties, which are privately owned, do not condemn people to a life in unhealthy and unsafe housing. They also need to explain if people will be compensated for the expenses they have incurred to date.

“It has been widely recognised that Rural Housing needs major investment. Yet, the cancellation of these grants will impact greatly on people who live in a rural setting -who in many cases live in intolerable conditions.

“People who find them in this situation should contact our advice centres or Sinn Fein representatives so we can catalogue and highlight these problems.” ENDS

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