Durkan: Housing strategy won’t clear waiting lists

mark h durkan Social housing Housing crisis Housing waiting lists

SDLP Communities Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has said Minister Deirdre Hargey’s Housing Supply Strategy will fail to clear social housing waiting lists.

While Mr Durkan welcomed a public consultation on the new strategy, he said people on waiting lists needed action rather than more words.

Mr Durkan said further detail is needed from Communities Minister Hargey on how she proposes to tackle the housing crisis here.

Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:

“Given the atrocious social housing waiting lists and the fact that tens of thousands of households are experiencing housing stress, we need a robust and realisable Housing Supply Strategy. We currently have nearly 45,000 applicants languishing on waiting lists and for many of them there is no end in sight to their cycle of homelessness.

“Minister Hargey plans to deliver over 100,000 homes over the next 15 years, but without detail as to how this will be achieved and afforded, her plan might as well be a letter to Santa. Sinn Féin have a track record of making positive announcements for people in the North, but we have seen time and time again how these promises never materialise and their best laid plans fall by the wayside leaving people disappointed and frustrated.

“Minister Hargey has already indicated that her plan will not even clear the current social housing waiting lists. Of these 100,000 homes, she has proposed a third be social housing which would leave over 10,000 people still waiting on a home. If these homes are ever built, by that stage the demand for housing and waiting lists will be even greater. This lack of ambition will be a serious blow to people hoping to be allocated a home of their own.

“Across the North we currently have people living with their families in overcrowded houses, staying with friends or temporarily living in unsuitable conditions in the hope that a better opportunity will come along. Our young people are unable to get on the housing ladder due to the eye watering deposits needed to enter the market. It remains to be seen how this strategy will address these issues.”

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