‘500 looking for ten social houses’

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More than 500 people are looking for just ten new social houses in Derry, according to a local councillor.

Sinn Féin councillor Tony Hassan said the situation is an indication of what he described as the “social housing crisis” in the city.

Colr. Hassan said new legislation is needed from the Department of Social Development to deal with the problem.

The housing spokesperson said not enough new social houses are being built in Derry to meet the growing level of demand.

“The number of social homes that are being built in Derry at the moment and the amount that are planned for the next few years is not enough to meet the demand. While there are many different elements to the current housing crisis, the problem is still the same, there are not enough new social homes being built for the numbers on the housing waiting list in Derry and across the North,” he said.

Highlighting the demand, colr. Hassan said; “If you take the next 10 new builds of social housing in Skeoge or Bligh’s Lane over 500 people or more will be looking for one of these homes. That would will tell you there is a serious crisis in social housing in the city.”

Colr. Hassan said that thousands of people are “trapped” on social housing waiting lists.

“Access to housing is a basic human right. Yet the current housing crisis means that hundreds are trapped on social housing waiting lists, more homes will be repossessed and then those people will be looking for social homes. This is a never ending story for the hundreds of people on the homeless waiting lists in the city,” he said.

The Sinn Féin colr. called on the social development minister to take action to alleviate the social housing problem.

“I believe that the strongest signal that could be sent out from the Department of Social Development and the Minister is that they are going seriously tackle the housing crisis head on. And that means it must include a commitment for legislation to tackle the crisis that we are currently in,” he said.