More money needed for social housing - Housing Executive

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Waiting lists for social housing will not decrease unless the Housing Executive is given more money, the body’s regional manager Sean Mackie told local councillors this week.

Mr Mackie made the comment as he addressed members of Derry City Council’s planning committee at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

He encouraged councillors to lobby their party colleagues in the Assembly to make a case for more funding for the Housing Executive.

“I accept that we are not building enough houses,” he said. “It’s patently obvious in terms of the waiting list numbers and the number of people in temporary accommodation that we have a supply problem. The issue is that we are competing in housing with everyone else in the public sector. You are all members of parties who are represented in the Assembly.

“I am sure there are ways and means that a debate could be held there about whether the levels of funding for social housing. Unless the people who decide how the cake is divided then nothing will change,” he said.

Mr Mackie, who is due to retire at the end of the month, also briefed councillors on restructuring within the Housing Executive.

“Up until this we have had eight district officers, six of those managed my merged management units. The other two are now both merged managed. We have just changed the leadership level. My replacement is Frank O’Connor. The organisation as a whole is moving from five areas to three regions; north east and west, south east and south, and Belfast,” he said.

He also said that the new area covering Derry will be from Larne to the city and his replacement will not be based in this city full time.” There won’t be a head office as such, there will be two offices. Frank O’Connor has his office in Ballymena and my office in Derry and will be available to meet people as and when required.

“He has a responsibility for service delivery from Larne to the city here. He will retain his office in Ballymena and my office will remain open. He will move between the two,” he said.