Social housing high on the agenda for council after meeting this week

(l-r) Photographed before a presentation to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council are NIFHAs Chief Executive Cameron Watt; Clanmils Chief Executive Clare McCarty; Clanmils Director of Property Services, Carol McTaggart; NIFHAs Deputy Chief Executive, Jennie Donald
(l-r) Photographed before a presentation to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council are NIFHAs Chief Executive Cameron Watt; Clanmils Chief Executive Clare McCarty; Clanmils Director of Property Services, Carol McTaggart; NIFHAs Deputy Chief Executive, Jennie Donald

Social housing was high on the agenda at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council this week following a presentation from the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA).

During the meeting councillors were shown a video outlining the positive impact housing associations are making in our local communities.

NIFHA’s Chief Executive Cameron Watt then detailed the challenges the sector is facing, particularly around issues such as welfare reform, access to land and the provision of care and support.

Mr Watt highlighted the need for access to bigger, more strategic sites, which could help boost mixed tenure and larger scale development.

On stock transfers of Housing Executive homes to housing associations, he explained this will be a key issue for the new Assembly but that housing associations are ready and willing to play a part in improving poor-quality housing.

Responding to a query from Councillor Paul Porter on tackling anti-social behaviour, NIFHA’s Deputy Chief Executive Jennie Donald explained that housing associations are working with partners such as the PSNI on information sharing and restorative justice providers.

He said this should allow housing associations to move more quickly to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Aaron McIntyre praised the good work that has been done by Helm Housing Association at Hemsworth Court and Councillor Jenny Palmer recognised the need to invest in supported housing services and pledged her support for increasing the Supporting People budget.

Clanmil Housing Association also presented to councillors, highlighting their stock and investment in the local area, as well as discussing planned developments and the need for an increase in the Supporting People budget.

NIFHA is committed to working closely with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to ensure the continuing provision of great homes and thriving communities in this area.