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Experts highlight need to rethink approach to social housing

31 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson, Fra McCann MLA has said that a warning issued by experts about increasing waiting lists for social housing reinforces the demand for a fundamental review of the provision of social housing.

Speaking at major conference on Housing and Regeneration in Monaghan, University of Ulster academic Paddy Gray highlighted problems of affordability and increasing housing waiting lists and the need for major investment in social housing to accommodate those who cannot afford to buy.

Mr McCann said:

"Right across Ireland house prices are spiralling beyond the reach of ordinary people, particularly first time buyers and young families. At the same time there is little growth in the provision of social housing. This is putting huge pressure on waiting lists for social housing.

"Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for a fundamental review of social housing that looks at supply and the housing allocation points system. This review should also define the level of investment in social housing that is required. Recent Housing Executive figures also show that the problem of homelessness is getting far worse. We also need to look at the operation of the buy-to-let markets and the activities of property developers and speculative landlords who are manipulating house prices and rents.

"The serious under provision of social housing is getting worse every year because new build targets are not being met. Unless a new approach is developed the gap between demand and supply will continue to grow.  The long-standing problems in the operation of thehousing allocation points system also means that many people are trapped on the waiting lists who should be a high priority and many are stuck in often unsuitable hostel accommodation." ENDS

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