Sinn Fein’s East Derry Assembly candidate Caoimhe Archibald has expressed concern over housing provision in the constituency.
Dr Archibald said, “Statistics from Housing Rights highlighted that East Derry is one of only four constituencies where homelessness is the most common concern (27% of queries) of those contacting advisors. The constituency also ranked second highest (% queries) in terms of those seeking advice on homelessness. Housing is also a very common issue that people contact our constituency officers in relation to, often concerning social housing.
“It is particularly concerning therefore to learn from an Assembly question to the Social Development Minister by my colleague Cathal ÓhOisín MLA, that only 21 social housing units have been completed since 2013 in the Coleraine District Council area. This is despite the Coleraine District Housing Plan 2014/5 by the Housing Executive indicating a need of 333 in the period 2013-2018.
“The question indicated that construction of 251 further units is planned by the end of 2018. Worrying however was the caveat that ‘programmed schemes may be lost or slip to future programme years for a variety of reasons. Additional schemes may also be added.’ We would hope the latter is the case, as latest statistics for 2014/15 showed there were over 1200 on the social rented waiting list in the Coleraine Council area.
“Housing should be a priority issue and needs to be constantly monitored to ensure there is adequate and affordable provision.”