200 homes ‘good news for those on waiting list’

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan pictured at Skeoge.
Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan pictured at Skeoge.
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Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has said that Apex Housing intends to build another 200 new social homes in the Skeoge lands next year.

The project will be the latest in a series of social housing developments completed or under way in the area around Skeoge Road and Buncrana Road.

Mr Hassan said the proposed new development would be extremely welcome as a means of helping to alleviate Derry’s housing crisis.

He said: “This is a good news story for social housing provision in Derry and for the hundreds of people on the homeless waiting list.

“These additional 200 homes will bring the total social homes built by Apex Housing at Skeoge to over 400.

“With over 2,000 people in housing stress and in a homeless situation, this news is good news for them.”

Mr Hassan said the new build project was the latest in a series of recent social housing initiatives across the city.

“Other housing associations are building more social homes in the city and as the new builds come on board hopefully the points needed will drop, which will give other people on the waiting list a better chance of getting a home,” he said.

“The number of people waiting for a home in the city has increased dramatically over the past few years and these houses will go some way to alleviating that problem.

“I will continue to lobby at every opportunity to ensure that the need for new social housing schemes is kept firmly on the agenda in the Derry and Strabane council area.”

There was no-one available at Apex Housing in Derry yesterday to give further details about the new project.

Apex announced it was building 200 homes in the Skeoge area back in June 2015.

At the time the new housing scheme in the Galliagh hinterland was the largest social housing project in the city for a decade.

These homes are expected to be completed by the spring of 2017.

Last September, the Housing Executive’s Chief Executive Clark Bailie confirmed at a meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council that the number of families and single applicants on the waiting list had reached over 4,000, with almost two thirds deemed to be in housing stress and over 1,000 confirmed as homeless.

Mr Bailie was speaking as he delivered the then new Housing Investment Plan for the Derry & Strabane area 2015-2019 before the local council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee. He said at the time that the figures represented a jump of 15% “and that’s something we are very concerned about”.

The previous year saw 779 housing allocations locally across the region.

The Housing Executive still retains responsibility for around 9,000 of the total 55,596 homes in Derry and Strabane, with Housing Associations having taken over a large chunk of the sector.

Over the years the Executive has sold off more than 11,000 properties to tenants.