Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan has said he believes that 2012 will be “the year of evictions” with a higher rate of repossessions locally.
This, he argues, is due to the combination of a growing number of job losses and welfare cuts.
Colr Hasssan has also called on Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, to clarify how he intends to manage the current crisis.
He told the Journal: “I fear that we will see more people in private homes facing house repossessions in this coming year than at any time in the past two years.
“The impact of ongoing job losses locally is that many people are simply not able to keep up mortgage payments or are falling behind with rent payments.
“On top of this I predict that we will also see a surge in problems around Housing Benefits when widespread changes to the benefits system comes into effect.
“I and many of the welfare rights groups in the city have been warning about this problem and, yes, 2012 could well be the year of evictions.
“The system is creaking at the seams in Derry, where social housing is already at crisis levels.
“If the Minister persists on his path of implementing the Tory welfare reforms this crisis is set to deepen significantly.
“I am calling on him to make a clear statement to the Assembly as a matter of urgency on how he intends to manage the current housing crisis in light of growing job losses and Tory welfare cuts.
“As the Minister for Social Development, with responsibility in both these sectors he must tell the Assembly how he intends to square this circle.”