Housing point system ‘not fit for purpose’

There are currently over 4,000 applicants on the social housing waiting list across Derry (pictured) and Strabane.
There are currently over 4,000 applicants on the social housing waiting list across Derry (pictured) and Strabane.
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The points system used to allocate social housing to those on the waiting list is open to abuse and not working, local councillors have warned.

Derry & Strabane Council have now backed an Assembly motion calling on the Minister for Communities, Paul Givan, to bring forward a replacement to the Housing Selection Scheme.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan tabled a formal motion to this effect at the full council meeting in the Guildhall on Thursday.

There are over 4,000 families and single people on the housing waiting list in Derry and Strabane.

Mr. Hassan, in his motion, said there was a need for a “fair and more transparent system of assessing housing need” and he urged colleagues to call on the minister “to bring forward the required regulation/ legislation without undue delay.”

Colr. Hassan said: “We need a fairer allocation. This present scheme is not fit for purpose.”

Those moved into temporary accommodation, he added, might see their points allocation remain at around 130 to 150.

“These people will not get a house,” he claimed. “If you don’t have 190 to 200 points, your chance of getting a home is very slim.

“I believe this scheme has definitely failed the people,” maintained Colr. Hassan.

Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly said that housing need was the “single biggest issue for us as councillors.”

He added that he knew of dozens of cases were people were waiting five years or more for a home.

SDLP Councillor Gus Hastings said: “The real problem here is the lack of housing” adding that there were issues with transparency with the current point system.

DUP Councillor Drew Thompson said the current point system can be manipulated.

A majority of councillors presents voted in favour.