Heading: Dedicated Planning Officer needed to tackle housing crisis
The Councillor for the Collin DEA commented:
“The rise in homelessness across the city has been well documented over the last number of months. There are currently more children and young people registered as homeless than ever before, with 11,372 marked as full duty applicants, yet due to the lack of social housing stock in areas of high demand this number is only set to increase.
“The only way to address this is by building more homes and building them at a fast rate. This is why the SDLP have proposed a dedicated planning officer assigned specifically to process planning applications for social housing new builds to ensure they can be processed as a matter of urgency rather than being stuck for months in a log jam.
“The SDLP believe that affordable, suitable and safe housing is a right that should be enjoyed by every citizen, not least our children. We hope that the planning committee will heed our evidence and accept our proposal to allow us to tackle this crisis before we reach a point of no return.
“We would also like to commend the Build Homes Now campaign on the production of their film ‘Waiting on a Childhood’. This film is to be made available for all Belfast City Councillors and I would encourage all council groups to attend the viewing to get a sense of the damage the housing crisis is having on our children, many of whom are growing up in over-crowded accommodation or hostels.”