Solutions can be found over mortgage difficulties
I am writing in response to your editorial on repossessions (DebateNI, June 2). As minister responsible for housing, I wholly appreciate the continuing impact of repossessions, which for those affected, is undoubtedly a complicated, expensive and distressing time and I can assure your readers that I am taking action on this issue.
Earlier this year, I published the final report from the Housing Repossessions Taskforce, established by my department and have given their recommendations my full support. Work on implementing the recommendations is well under way.
Indeed, in response to the taskforce's report, I have already increased funding for Housing Rights' specialist mortgage debt advice by 50% to £340,000 and have initiated an innovative piece of work which uses behavioural insights to encourage households to seek help at an early stage. I am also working closely with banks to ensure they offer products and services which better support struggling households in Northern Ireland.
More than 90% of people who have a problem with their mortgage find a sustainable solution, providing they seek advice and act quickly.
Unfortunately, this message was not included in your editorial.
I would urge anyone who is struggling to pay their mortgage, or who is worried about the future, to seek help as soon as possible.
Free, independent and confidential advice is available by simply lifting the phone and calling Housing Rights on 0300 323 0310.
Online advice is also available at www.housingadviceni.org.
MERVYN STOREY MLA
Social Development Minister