Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Housing Statistics highlights scale of housing crisis

29 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann has said that the publication of the Housing Statistics for 2005-06 by the Department of Social Development highlight the huge scale of the housing crisis.

Mr McCann said:

"Theses figures highlight the extent of the housing crisis we are staring into. Only 8% of all new builds were in the social housing sector, which probably translates into fewer than 800 new social homes came on stream last year. Yet, over 20,000 people presented as homeless, a staggering 16% increase on last year.

"The failure to meet demand for social housing was compounded by a further loss of Housing Executive stock with 2,500 less HE tenancies in March 2006 than March 2005.

"There must be a fundamental recognition that the failure to meet the demand for social housing is unsustainable. This demand at present is being met by private landlords, who are already seriously distorting the housing market and in some cases making millions in housing benefit payments.

"There is also an increase of almost 20% in the number of mortgage repossession. While the average price of National House Building Council-registered houses sold during 2005-06 increased of 13.6%.

"Many young people are unable to get into the housing market because of property speculators who are forcing up prices and many young families are taking on mortgages that they simply cannot sustain. At the same time the huge gap between demand and supply in social housing is being filled by the same property speculators.

"But this is only part of the picture. A recent CAJ report backs up an analysis of far deeper problems below the headline figures. Historically, housing discrimination was a source of serious injustice and a key issue that led to the formation of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960‚s. However there is now clear evidence that there continues to be very very serious differences in how the need for social housing is met." ENDS

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