DSD Minister must address ‘real crisis’

SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood
SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood

DSD Minister Nelson McCausland must address Derry’s housing crisis as a matter of urgency, Assemblyman Colum Eastwood has said.

The SDLP MLA is demanding immediate action after he revealed that housing waiting lists in Derry’s city side have swollen by 50% in the last five years. The crisis in Derry, which traditionally has suffered from a social housing deficit, has deepened with the “real impact of the financial crisis” in the North West Mr Eastwood said.

“Meanwhile the DUP/Sinn Féin controlled Executive have sat idly by, ignoring the issues faced by many in this city. Due to the lack of employment opportunities people are having their homes repossessed, can’t afford private renting and inevitably turn to social housing as a last resort,” he said. Mr Eastwood’s office has been “inundated with constituent queries” about the waiting list. “The reality is that the Housing Executive cannot cope with this unprecedented demand,” he said. The Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, needs to look at these figures and admit that Derry is facing a very real housing crisis, a crisis that requires immediate intervention. He needs to act and he needs to act now. He needs to bring forward plans that will comprehensively address the social housing deficiency in Derry as a matter of urgency. A scheme to build 3,000 homes will clearly combat the ever-growing waiting list whilst driving economic growth in the North West by stimulating our ailing construction sector. It really is a no-brainer.

The Derry District Housing Plan 2013 envisages that 1540 social homes need to be built by 2017, there are plans for 788 but there are currently over 3,000 people on the waiting list. These numbers do not stack up.”