3 December 2013
The Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) today outlined the need for more collaborative working across government to support housing delivery at a special meeting of the All-Party Working Group on Construction.
Ministers from the Departments of Health, Regional Development and Justice and officials from the Department of Education joined the meeting to hear that access to suitable sites remains one of the biggest challenges in delivering much-needed new social homes. Concerted action across government departments to identify and release land for development could make the difference when it comes to building new social housing.
More than 22,000 households across Northern Ireland living are regarded as being in housing stress and the Programme for Government 2011-15 has set a target of 8,000 new social and affordable homes by 2015 to help meet this need.
Jennie Donald Deputy Chief Executive of NIFHA asked Ministers how their departments could facilitate greater collaborative working across departments in relation to the delivery of housing and other infrastructure projects.
“The biggest challenge housing associations face right now is securing access to sites for development. NIFHA’s members have the necessary finances in place and the commitment to deliver the necessary levels of homes to meet that need, but access to suitable sites and land for development is becoming a serious obstacle to development.
“We need strategic intervention at senior level to look seriously at making public land available for social housing and to help remove some of the barriers and blockages to the delivery to housing and other infrastructure.”
The All-Party Working Group on Construction aims to contribute to policy agenda, explore topical issues and foster commitment to the industry and the skills on which it relies.
Notes to Editors
- The All-Party Working Group on Construction is chaired by Patsy McGlone MLA. This 23rd meeting of the group focused on proposals to make commissioning and procurement of infrastructure projects quicker.
- The Programme for Government sets a target of 8,000 new social and affordable homes to be delivered during the four year period 2011/12 to 2014/15.
- In 2012/13, funding of £159 million delivered 1,379 social homes, surpassing the target of 1,325 social homes. This was made up of £85.1million of Housing Association Grant for social housing and £73.9million of private finance from housing associations.
- In 2012/13, funding of £38.0 million delivered 957 affordable homes through Co-Ownership Housing Association, far exceeding the target of 500 affordable homes.
- DSD estimates that every one million pounds invested in social house building supports 12 jobs – seven directly and five indirectly. Based on the £197million jointly invested by DSD and housing associations in 2012/13 that equates to around 2,400 jobs created or sustained.
- Programme for Government targets for the current financial year 2013/14 are for 1,275 social homes and 500 affordable homes, sharply rising to 2,000 social homes and 500 affordable homes for the final year 2014/15.