Belfast Telegraph

£6m housing boost for Castlereagh

By Helen McDowell

The Housing Executive says it will invest almost £6.7million in Castlereagh this year.

Aengus Hannaway, Lisburn & Castlereagh area manager, said: ''With so much of the focus this year being on proposed changes as to how social housing is to be delivered in the future it is easy to forget that the day to day provision of housing services continued as usual."

Referring to the Housing Executive's investment in Castlereagh in 2012-13, he said: "Last year we:

•Spent £3.3m on improving and maintaining Housing Executive homes

•Invested almost £1.8m to assist vulnerable people through the Supporting People programme

•Provided almost £427,000 for grant aid to improve housing conditions in the private sector

•Invested £226,000 adapting Housing Executive homes in this area having commenced adaptations to 62 tenants' homes

•Provided 1,326 private sector tenants with Housing Benefit assistance, an increase of 68% from 2009

•Worked with community groups and other sectors to encourage safer, settled and inclusive communities.

Setting out the Housing Executive's agenda in Castlereagh for the 2013-2014 year when investment will be almost £6.7m, Mr Hannaway said the housing waiting list for the area had increased from 1,171 applicants in March 2012 to 1,374 at December 2012.

Housing stress also continued to increase, with 747 applicants in housing stress at December 2012. Single households continued to dominate the waiting list, followed by small families and elderly.

"During the year to December 2012, we allocated 330 homes in the social housing sector to waiting list applicants.

"The Social Housing Development Programme for 2013-16 proposes four schemes to deliver 36 units of housing.

"In 2012-13, the number of homeless applicants awarded Full Duty status increased slightly in Castlereagh, to 366 from 335 in 2011-12. The Housing Executive continues to work hard to provide services to support those faced with homelessness."

Almost £176,000 was allocatedfor private sector grant work.

In January the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, outlined proposals for the reform of social housing, to include the restructure of the Housing Executive.

Already three new regions have been formed, North, South and Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph


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