Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, Fra McCann MLA, has raised concerns at the approach of the Housing Executive and a number of Housing Association to dealing with the issue of anti-social tenants and accused them of turning parts of Belfast into 'dumping grounds'.
Mr McCann said:
"Sinn Fein is increasingly concerned that the Housing Executive and Housing Associations parts of Belfast are being systematically destroyed and treated by these housing bodies as dumping grounds.
"The problem means that in some areas there is a high concentration of individuals and families that who are systematically destroying the local community. It is one thing for the housing authorities say they have a duty of care to those who apply for housing. But Sinn Fein has made it clear that they also have a duty of care to their existing tenants.
"Residents associations have told me that they are bearing the brunt of increased vandalism, car theft, intimidation, and drug dealing by people who are being re-housed as a priority in areas that have no capacity to deal with it.
"This needs to end and more weight needs to be given to the plight of local communities. Residents associations I have spoken to believe they are being taken for granted. They feel they are left to pick up the pieces of bad housing practice.
"Communities are willing to meet the authorities more than half way but this has not been forthcoming in the past from these housing bodies. I know many people who have been active in local residents groups have said that unless there is a change of attitude they will have to look at street campaigns to reclaim their communities.
"Sinn Fein will work with local communities to ensure their right to peaceful coexistence with their neighbours, and to build neighbourhoods where everyone, young and old, can live without fear. We need a common approach; a strategic approach to dealing with the issue of anti-social tenants. Local communities cannot and should not be treated as dumping grounds by the housing authorities." ENDS