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McCann - Housing Statistics paint beak picture for people in need

22 January, 2004

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Fra McCann commenting on the latest Housing Bulletin has said that the statistics paint a bleak picture in terms of increasing prices making it more difficult for first time buyers to get on the property ladder but more seriously point up to the urgent need to re-evaluate the social hosing policy especially with nearly 4,500 household presenting as homeless in a three month period.

Fra McCann said:

"The latest figures show that the cost of new houses is sky rocketing with increases of between 7% and 10% in the asking price for new houses, flats and maisonettes. The 25% increase in mortgage repossessions should also send out a very serious signal that there is increasing instability in the housing markets.

"Nearly 4,500 household presented themselves as homeless in the three month period from July to September last year. The fact that for the same period that 96.8 % of all new builds were commissioned by the private sector points to even greater pressures within the social housing sector.

"Homelessness, the lack of new builds in the social sector and the lack of affordable housing are problems that will not go away. Behind every statistic there is a real human story where people are being forced to live in sub-standard accommodation or in crowded conditions.

"There needs to be an urgent re-evaluation of social housing policy and NIO Ministers need to act urgently to address the situation particularly in regard to families presenting as homeless. Commonly such families presenting as homeless are as a result of family breakdown or dispute. So the short-sighted housing policies in place are compounding already difficult situations." ENDS

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