Sinn Fein concern at lack of social housing

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Upper Bann MLA Catherine Seeley has voiced concern at the lack of social housing locally.

Following a question to the Minister for Communities it transpired that just 45 new social housing units are currently under construction in the entire Upper Bann area.

The Minister DUP MLA Paul Givan revealed that 112 social housing units are set to start as part of the 2016/16 and 2017/18 programme.

Sinn Fein MLA Catherine Seeley said: “I am deeply concerned by the lack of social housing in the Lurgan area and indeed right across Upper Bann. Housing is the single biggest issue to come into our office. As such myself and John O’Dowd MLA have requested a meeting with the Communities Minister.

“We have recently met with senior officials in NIHE and would encourage all those with housing needs to register with NIHE to ensure the housing register reflects the need out there.”

The Minister said the housing needs of applicants in the Upper Bann Parliamentary Constituency will be met through a combination of re-lets of existing social housing and new social housing delivered through the Social Housing Development Programme (SHDP).

“There were 482 allocations for the year ending June 2016 and 45 new social housing units are currently under construction in the Upper Bann Parliamentary Constituency. A further 112 social housing units are programmed to start on-site as part of the SHDP 2016/17 to 2018/19.

“In addition the Housing Executive is establishing a new Housing Solutions and Support Approach which will offer more effective, relevant housing advice for its customers.

“By gathering information about their customers, and specific household needs they will be able to provide advice on a range of options that represent genuine potential housing solutions to meet their specific needs.

“It is hoped that this new approach will provide improved housing outcomes for all customers and it is scheduled for introduction in the Upper Bann area next year.”