Belfast Telegraph

McCausland: New housing strategy will deliver decent, affordable and sustainable homes

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Social Development

Housing Minister Nelson McCausland has set out his plan to deliver decent, affordable and sustainable homes in his action plan for housing in Northern Ireland.

The plan puts into effect his Department's Housing Strategy which was the subject of a wide consultation last year. The public were encouraged to have their say on the Strategy and the comments received have been reflected in the action plan.

Commenting on the action plan, Minister McCausland said: “My vision is to take a more strategic approach to housing in Northern Ireland. We consulted on the Strategy published last year and listened to people's views. This action plan is the roadmap to deliver decent, affordable and sustainable homes for people across Northern Ireland.

“This is a plan that will deliver for homeowners and tenants, in both the private and social rented sectors. It will ensure that my Department plays an active part in building our economy and creating jobs and homes for future generations. This means helping to create the right conditions for a stable and sustainable housing market that will support economic growth and prosperity. It means supporting the most vulnerable in our society to access housing and also means driving regeneration within our communities, particularly those suffering from blight or decline.

“I have already secured a number of flexibilities within welfare reform for the people of Northern Ireland. I will continue to inform the discussions on their local impact, to ensure fairness for all concerned.”

The action plan sets out key actions for housing until 2017, including:

· driving investment in housing by establishing a new Housing Supply Forum;
· establishing a working group to prevent or reduce the impact of repossessions;
· managing the impacts of Welfare Reform;
· taking forward the social housing reform programme; and
· the Department will develop an Empty Homes strategy and action plan.

The Minister also today published a summary of the comments received in the consultation.

Notes to editors:

1. The action plan and consultation summary documents can be viewed on the Department for Social Development website at http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/hsdiv-facing-the-future.htm and the Housing Strategy is available to view at http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/housing-strategy-consultation.htm

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