Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Housing Statistics paint bleak picture

18 September, 2003


Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, Foyle representative Mary Nelis commenting on the publication of the 2002-03 housing statistics has said that unless there is a radical rethink about meeting the demand for social housing there will continue to be unacceptable increases in homelessness and increased pressure of Housing Executive waiting lists.

Mrs Nelis said:

"The number of households presenting themselves as homeless is up 16%, mortgage repossessions are up7.5%, the average price of NHBC registered houses is up 10% and Housing Executive stock is down by over 7,000. These figures taken singularly should send out a warning signal but taken together they paint a very bleak picture of our housing market.

"Unless there is a radical rethink about meeting the demand for social housing there will continue to be unacceptable increases in homelessness and increased pressure of Housing Executive waiting lists.

"95% of all new dwellings started in 2002-03 were commissioned by the private sector. This points up a huge imbalance in the building of social housing. We are just not creating enough housing that is affordable to meet the demand.

"There can be no acceptable level of homelessness. It is an indictment on the failure of the homelessness strategy to tackle the problem. Since the collapse of the institutions and the re-introduction of direct rule organisations dealing with the issue of homelessness have reported a lack of political will make progress on this issue.

"However the problem runs far deeper. We need to address the entire housing policy. We need to build more homes and make much better use of existing stock. There are also huge numbers of people on waiting lists classified as A1 priority or in 'stress'." ENDS

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