‘Some families will still be on housing list in 2024’

Sinn Fein councillor Tony Hassan.
Sinn Fein councillor Tony Hassan.
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Sinn Féin Derry City Councillor Tony Hassan has warned that some families on the Derry’s housing waiting list will still be there in 10 years time unless more houses are built.

Sinn Féin Housing spokesman Colr. Hassan has now called on the Department of Social Development to provide more social homes for the high numbers of homeless people in Derry.

Speaking after the Journal published an in-depth look at the housing situation in Derry last week, Colr. Hassan said: “It is a disgrace that families will spend their second and third Christmas in overcrowded conditions and in temporary accommodation.

“Over the last number of weeks and months I had more people in my constituency office presenting themselves homeless than in the whole of the 2013.

“ The report in last Friday’s Journal on this issue said it all.The reason for the over 2,000 families being in the homeless bracket in Derry is that there is simply not enough social homes for the areas of need. It is totally unacceptable, that the number of new builds of social homes in this city is not enough to stop the extent of the housing crisis.

“The new Housing Minister needs to move and move quickly,” he said, adding that some families on the housing list in Derry “will not get a house in the next 5/10 years”.

Housing Minister Mervyn Storey told the Journal in response that “considerable effort has been put into identifying suitable sites” for social housing.

He said: “Plans are now in place which will see social housing provision in the Council area more than double over the next three year period. The Social Housing Development Programme aims to provide close to 1,200 new homes over the period 2014/15 to 2016/17 in the Council area. These new properties will make significant inroads into the waiting list figures.”

The Minister’s department also revealed that as of March 2014 the average waiting times for a property in Derry were 21 months for those registered at the Housing Executive’s Waterloo Place office,17 months at the Waterside office, and 20 months at the Collon office.