Mc Gill cautions against any dilution in local Housing Executive Services
The local MLA said,
"In a written question to Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie I sought assurances that the current level of services and staffing at the Strabane District Housing Executive offices would be maintained following speculation that certain services and staff are going to be centralised in Derry.
"In response the Minister said that a local office will be retained in Strabane and still provide a response maintenance service, deal with housing allocations and homelessness, estate management, schemes and development of the community network.
"However, she did confirm that Housing Benefit and Rent Accounting will be processed in a new Area Service Centre in Derry but members of the public will still be able to call into the Strabane office for advice and assistance on these matters. She said that a number of staff will move to the Area Service Unit but the majority of staff will remain in Strabane the local office in Strabane will be retained to provide a response maintenance service
"In 2005, £400,000 was spent on the refurbishment of the local Housing Executive Offices and this was a long overdue and welcome investment. However, it is ironic that despite this investment staff from the Housing Benefits and Rent Accounting Sections are now going to have to move to a new area Service Centre in Derry.
"I hope that this will not lead to a diminution in the level of frontline services available to local people nor represent a first phase in a wider centralization process by the Housing Executive. ENDS