Over £80m invested in new homes for Derry & Strabane

The Peace Bridge in Derry. (Picture: Housing Executive)
The Peace Bridge in Derry. (Picture: Housing Executive)

The Housing Executive and Housing Associations have spent over £80m in building new social homes in Derry & Strabane over the past year, with more investment planned over the coming months.

Over £33m meanwhile is also being invested by the Housing Executive in a range of other services across Derry and Strabane over the next year, the body has revealed today.

The Tinnies in Strabane (Picture: Housing Executive)

The Tinnies in Strabane (Picture: Housing Executive)

Housing Executive (HE) officials this evening met with Derry City & Strabane District Council to deliver an update on its plans for the next year, and to report on last year’s investment.
They confirmed that the HE and Housing Associations have spent £80.27m on developing new homes in the city and district over the last year alone.

Of this, £47.74m was public money, while the Housing Associations brought in £32.5m through private financing.

Through its Landlord and Regional Services last year, the HE invested a total of £92.19m in the area, as part of £124.72m overall housing spend. This includes grant aid to housing associations for the building and rental of new houses.

This year meanwhile, almost £33.12m will be invested in upgrading and maintaining Housing Executive properties, supporting people to live independently, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.

During 2019/20, in partnership with housing associations, around 639 new homes are planned throughout the Derry City & Strabane District Council area.

Maintaining its housing stock is a priority, said the HE, and this year the organisation will spend £11.64m in Derry & Strabane on planned and response maintenance to its homes.

This will include external maintenance work to 2,041 homes, heating installation in 526 homes and double glazing in 368 homes.

This year, the body plan to invest almost £2.21m on stock improvements and adaptations for disabled persons.

The HE endeavours to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme. In 2019/20, the Housing Executive will invest over £16.52m for housing support services.

The HE currently funds 69 accommodation based services for 1,331 service users locally, as well as 10 floating support services for 488 service users.

The HE continues to contribute to the private sector through a variety of grants to help adapt homes and to support people living in their own home, for longer.

Last year, it approved 154 disabled facilities grants and a number of repair and renovation grants totalling £2.07m.

Speaking during a meeting of the Council’s Governance & Strategic Planning Committee today, the HE’s North Regional Manager, Frank O’Connor said: “Our local office teams provide a high quality, dedicated housing service to the area.

“Working alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams, we provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.

“We are committed to investing in the Derry City & Strabane area, to improve the lives of people in our community.

“My thanks are extended to the Councillors and Officers of Derry City & Strabane District Council for their support for the Housing Executive - we look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest over the coming year.”

Also speaking at the presentation to the Council, Clark Bailie, the HE’s Chief Executive, said:

“A range of stakeholders inform our Housing Investment Plan, which is developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole Northern Ireland housing sector.

“We have a good working relationship with Derry City & Strabane District Council and there is a lot of engagement on priorities.

“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland, we have prepared this Housing Investment Plan to inform the Community Planning Partnership on the state of the housing market, on housing needs, the policy priorities and public sector investment proposals for 2019-23.

“Lots of work needs to be done to meet housing need, to improve housing stock and to provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently and effectively.”

Across Northern Ireland, the Housing Executive channelled some £82.3m into services to help the most vulnerable, which included £10.1m of direct funding on homelessness and £72.2m through its Supporting People Programme.

The funding provided by Supporting People includes £26m on services which assist homeless households.

In addition, there was a large planned maintenance programme, with work undertaken at 28,223 homes; a direct investment of £128m to these homes.

Over 380,000 response maintenance repairs were carried out at a cost of £54.2m.

Homeowners and private landlords also received considerable support, with £13.7m spent through home improvement grants and £16.4m in tackling fuel poverty through the Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Schemes.