Hassan tackles Minister over housing points system in Derry

Derry and Strabane Sinn Fein Councillor pictured handing over a letter to Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey.
Derry and Strabane Sinn Fein Councillor pictured handing over a letter to Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey.
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The points system used for allocating social housing to those on the house waiting list is “wrong” according to a local councillor.

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Colr. Tony Hassan made the claim when he presented Minister Mervyn Storey with a letter calling on him to move immediately to review the housing points system.

In his letter to the Minister, Colr. Hassan urged him to grant the many housing applicants, who are deemed homeless and as a result have to source their own private rented accommodation, the extra 20 points that other Housing Executive applicants receive when they are provided with temporary accommodation.

“The Minister was in Derry and I felt it was important to ask him to have an immediate look at the housing points system which I believe needs an immediate overhaul,” Colr. Hassan told the ‘Journal’ yesterday evening.

“Families are having their chances of getting a new home curtailed by the Housing Executive’s current policy of not awarding the additional 20 points.

“In many cases this is because applicants who have been assessed as homeless by NIHE (Northern Ireland Housing Executive) are not in a position to wait for temporary accommodation and source their own private accommodation only to be penalized by NIHE. I believe this is wrong and should be addressed.”

I believe this is wrong and should be addressed

Derry and Strabane Councillor, Tony Hassan

Colr. Hassan said he first raised this issue back in 2011 and said he thought that the relevant authorities needed to look at this issue as a matter of urgency.

“Sinn Féin has raised this issue many times over the last few years in the hope that this oversight would be rectified and a fairer system of the allocation of points for all those who are living in private rented accommodation.

“We were told at the time that the Housing Executive and the Minister were looking at this under the Common Selection Scheme and it was hoped that this issue would be resolved early in 2011, it is now 2015 and still no resolution to the problem.”

Colr. Hassan went on to call on both the Minister and Housing Executive to embrace a more equal protocol.

“I am now calling on the Minister Mervyn Storey, the Housing Executive and the Department of Social Development to make every effort possible to address this issue, and to give equality to all Housing Executive applicants,” he said.