Belfast Telegraph

2,500-plus social houses planned

Ambitious plans to build more than 2,500 social houses have been announced.

Choice, Northern Ireland's largest housing association, claimed the construction would create 1,200 jobs over the next five years and boost the local economy by about £340 million.

Timothy Quin, chairman of Choice, said: " Over the next five years, thousands of people will benefit directly from the homes and employment opportunities that we plan to create."

The investment will be funded through a combination of private finance and government grants.

Choice was formed following the merger of Oaklee Trinity and Ulidia housing associations.

The 10,000-home landlord now holds property assets of more than £700 million and has an annual turnover of over £40 million.

It was officially launched at Belfast's Titanic museum.

Mr Quin added: "As a social enterprise we want to continue to evolve, to maximise on regeneration opportunities while performing better for the communities we serve with more than just housing. That means directing our resources and commercial ambition towards the acute immediate challenges and to setting new standards of excellence within the sector."

Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA has welcomed the investment.

He said: "In May, I was pleased to announce that over 10,000 new social and affordable homes had been delivered during the Programme for Government period 2011/12 to 2014/15 - more than were promised.

"The associations that now make up Choice delivered 20% of the social housing output.

"The investment package announced today demonstrates confidence in the strength of the social housing sector and their ability to deliver a sustainable quality product."

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