More social housing needed, says Swann

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With 2,283 people on the social housing waiting list in North Antrim, it’s time to improve the stock of homes, UUP MLA Robin Swann says.

The Assemblyman has challenged the Housing Minister to improve the stock situation “as the current provision is seeing us falling behind the rest of Northern Ireland”.

Speaking in an Assembly debate, Mr Swann said: “The Housing Executive’s net stock model has indicated that there is a need for 1,900 homes to be built each year.

“However, because there have been several years since 2001 when that target was not met, it is now considered by many, not least the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, that an additional 600 need to be provided each year to make up for the previous years’ shortfalls.

“Housing is one of the main issues that I deal with in my constituency office; there are 2,283 people on the social housing waiting list in North Antrim and 1,250 designated as being in housing stress.

“This is the thing which struck me most about North Antrim, which many consider it to be one of the most affluent rural constituencies, was that, outside Belfast and Londonderry, the Ballymena Northern Ireland Housing Executive district office has the highest number of people registered as homeless, with 665 full-duty applicants.

“In this day and age, it is staggering to think that so many people in one constituency could be registered in that way.

“ The solution is in land becoming available. Finance is available as the DSD Minister moved £8 million from social housing and put it into co-ownership. “There might have been an opportunity to use that £8 million to build social housing,” he said.