Belfast Telegraph

Nama praised for its social housing projects – and more are planned

By Margaret Canning

NAMA'S social housing activity has been warmly welcomed by housing associations. And a spokesman for Nama said other proposals are being considered.

He added: "Whilst we are confident that a number of future transactions will emerge through our engagement on social housing, Nama is just one of a number of players in the Northern Ireland property market.

"Some are much larger than Nama, and the agency has a finite exposure to the type and location of sites and properties that may be suitable for social housing."

The Housing Executive welcomed "both the provision of land and homes for social housing to help meet the needs of applicants on the social housing waiting list".

"The recent developments acquired by the housing associations through Nama will provide affordable homes and help address housing need in these areas," a spokesman said.

Lucinda McMurran, corporate services manager of umbrella body the Northern Ireland Federation for Housing Associations (NIFHA) said: "We warmly welcome Nama's commitment to work with housing associations and congratulate our members for securing deals that will produce much-needed homes.

"With 21,000 families in acute housing need in Northern Ireland, we must do all we can to accelerate the delivery of social and affordable homes and get this region building again.

"Unlocking suitable land and units which may otherwise remain underused or undeveloped is a long term priority for our members."

"The movement has an increasingly important role to fulfil and is building effective working partnerships that secure valuable social and economic dividends."

Michael McDonnell, chief executive of Helm Housing Association, said it had not acquired any sites or houses from Nama, but added:

"Housing associations and our partners in DSD and NIHE have been engaging with Nama around access to land to meet social housing needs.

"However, land availability remains a significant barrier to addressing housing stress in Northern Ireland."

News of the social housing transactions come almost a week after First Minister Peter Robinson said Nama inactivity over the fate of some sites and houses "does little to boost our economy right now".

Belfast Telegraph