As the Northern Ireland Assembly debates the delivery of new social housing, Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) commented:
“Northern Ireland is in the midst of a housing crisis, with 22,414 households in housing stress. This crisis has developed over many years and requires concerted action for the rest of the decade to fix it.
Housing associations have consistently delivered targets for new social homes, but this is getting more challenging all the time. As the annual target for new homes increases from 1,275 this year to 2,000 next year, a game-changer on land supply is urgently needed.
For two years we have been calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to take concerted action to help provide more land for social and affordable homes. This includes bringing forward more unused public land, strengthening policy support in the draft Strategic Planning Policy Statement and ending our gold-plating of EU procurement rules.
University of Ulster research shows that for every 10 jobs created through our Social Housing Development Programme, at least a further seven jobs are sustained elsewhere in Northern Ireland’s economy.
In tough times Northern Ireland’s housing associations are effectively delivering new social and affordable homes for people in need. With greater support across government, together we can achieve the step-change in delivery to ensure everyone has access to a decent, affordable home.”
Notes to Editors
• The Programme for Government sets a target of 8,000 new homes to be delivered during the four year period 2011/12 to 2014/15 – 6,000 social homes and 2,000 affordable homes.
• Targets for the current year 2013/14 are for 1,275 social homes and 500 affordable homes, sharply rising to 2,000 social and 500 affordable homes for the final PfG year 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.
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