‘Have your say on housing proposals’

Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly.
Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly.

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Colly Kelly has encouraged people to take part in a consultation on the future of House Sales Schemes in the north.

The Department for Communities has launched the consultation this week, with three proposals tabled, one of which involves ending the scheme by which social housing tenants are able to purchase their homes after a certain length of tenure.

The consultation comes as part of a Northern Ireland governmental challenge to a reclassification of Housing Associations as public rather than privately-operated bodies.

The Department has warned that with the Housing Executive no longer able to build houses, the reclassification would have implications for the ability of Housing Associations to draw in private finance, which would slow the building of new social homes across the north.

Councillor Kelly said: “There is a housing crisis in the north with over 20,000 households in housing stress and stark inequalities in the waiting list for social housing.

“In this context the reclassification of housing associations and the house sales scheme are hugely important issues, impacting on the social housing stock.

“This consultation gives the public in Derry the opportunity to make their views clear and ensure that housing waiting lists and inequalities are tackled.”

He added: “A number of public events will be held as part of the Consultation and I would encourage the public to attend. The event in Derry will take place on Wednesday 15 August in the Millennium Forum.

Details of the public events and the consultation documents can be found at: www.communities-ni.gov.uk/consultations/future-of-hss