More than £11m being invested in new social housing

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More than £11 million will be spent developing new social housing schemes in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area during 2017/18, the Housing Executive (NIHE) has revealed.

NIHE officials met with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council members last week to outline housing plans for the next four years, and to report on last year’s investment.

According to the Housing Executive, it is making “a significant investment during 2017/18 in the area to support the delivery of new homes.”

It says more than 150 new build units are on-site, with a further 191 planned over the next three years.

The NIHE estimates that £11m will be invested developing new homes by housing associations in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area in the 2017/18 period - houses that are badly needed.

As of March 31, 2017 there were 1,268 local applicants on the housing waiting list deemed to be “in housing stress”. Single person households dominate the waiting list, followed by small families and older people.

Some 1,033 people in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area were awarded “homeless full duty status” during 2016/17.

Speaking during the presentation on the Housing Investment Plan, Clark Bailie, the NIHE’s Chief Executive, said: “Lots of work needs to be done to meet housing need, improve housing stock and provide support for the most vulnerable in our community – we will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently and effectively.”

The presentation detailed how £16.34 million will be invested in upgrading and maintaining NIHE properties, supporting people to live independently, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.

Through its landlord and regional services last year, the Housing Executive invested £34.31 million in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area, this included grant aid to Housing Associations for the building of new houses to rent.

Maintaining its housing stock remains a priority for the Housing Executive and this year in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area the organisation will spend £5.79 million on planned and response maintenance to its homes. This will include outside maintenance work to 282 homes, heating insulation in 349 homes and double glazing in 159 homes.

Next year the Executive plans to invest almost £4.4 million on capital works, completing improvement works to a further 524 homes. There will also be a significant investment in the replacement of flat roofs that are reaching the end of their useful life.

Speaking at the presentation, the Housing Executive’s Regional Manager for Lisburn & Castlereagh, Jennifer Hawthorne said: “Our Lisburn & Castlereagh teams provide a high quality, dedicated housing service to the area.

“We are committed to investing in the Lisburn & Castlereagh area to improve the lives of people in our community.”

Meanwhile, the meeting also offered NIHE officials an opportunity to address councillors’ concerns about safety in high-rise flats in the wake of the recent fire at Coolmoyne House in Seymour Hill.