Housing stress a major issue for people waiting for social housing
Of the two thousand applicants for social housing in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Area sixty-five per cent are experiencing housing stress. These are the stark statistics given to a delegation from the SDLP who met Housing Executive officials in Coleraine this week.
The party’s assembly member for East Derry John Dallat who accompanied local councillors said:
‘A lack of social housing is still one of the greatest challenges facing modern society and the waiting list, especially those on that waiting list experiencing housing stress speaks volumes and calls for a new sense of urgency to tackle this never-ending problem which signifies failure by the government to plan ahead for the needs of our people.
Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop made a special plea for the Glens where there has been reoccurring problems identifying development land for social housing.
‘Our rural communities feel they have been left behind and while the numbers are small they are no less important. Our rural schools, churches, sporting clubs and other organisations are under threat if we cannot provide social housing in the areas it is needed. She invited officials to visit the Glens with a view to identifying development land for new builds.
Councillor Stephenie Quigley expressed her delight with the high standard of recent housing developments in Coleraine.
The high quality of new build projects is an important step forward in ensuring there is no difference in standards between the private and public sector.
She called for recent achievements to be continued to address serious housing shortage in Coleraine.
The public representatives dealt with a wide range of other housing issues including the change from housing benefit to universal credit.
There was widespread agreement that the changeover was chaotic for many people who were finding the experience overwhelming.
The members expressed their thanks to staff who had gone to extraordinary lengths to help individuals who sought their help and expertise.