SF anger as NIHE plan 57 new social houses with more than 2k on Upper Bann waiting list

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Despite more than 2,000 people on the NI Housing Executive waiting list, just 57 new homes are earmarked for Upper Bann in the next two years.

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd lambasted the NIHE after the figures were revealed during a recent meeting.

“Figures supplied by the Housing Executive show there are 2160 applicants on the waiting list. The response is to build 59 new homes this year with a further 57 in the next two years.

“Compare these figures to North Down which has 1900 applicants on the waiting list. Their response is to build 362 new homes this year with plans to build an additional 98 in the future.

“The comparison could not be more stark; North Down’s housing crisis is being taken seriously whilst Upper Bann is left behind with a totally inadequate response.

“Upper Bann has six wards in the top 100 most deprived wards, North Down has none. The biggest housing demand is in North Lurgan which has three of the most deprived wards.

“Persistent housing inequality needs addressed as a matter of priority but it is very clear that the Housing Executive in Upper Bann aren’t doing enough .

“Instead the Housing Executive are using the private rented sector as a substitute for social housing. But private rentals provide no security for tenants. They can also be subject to often erratic rent increases which place a huge burden on tenants.

“Sinn Féin will be pressing the Housing Executive on what they intend to do to address these inequalities and will firmly make the case that a major social house building programme is required in Upper Bann to address the need that is clearly there.”