Housing hell for hundreds of children

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Sinn Féin Councillor Tony Hassan says “crisis” is no longer sufficient to describe Derry’s “never-ending housing” problem after Communities Minister Paul Givan confirmed 446 homeless households in the city last year included at least one child.

Councillor Hassan said an escalated social housing programme is needed across the North West after the Minister revealed 179 homeless households in the Collon Terrace district, 139 in the Waterloo Place district, and 128 in the Waterside district in 2015/16 contained at least one child.

He said more needs to be done to tackle the issue as he regularly has distressed families calling into the constituency office in tears due to the homelessness problem.

He said: “At this time of the year we remember the plight of the homeless in our city, people who haven’t a home of their own, people in temporary accommodation, overcrowded conditions, staying with family and friends and also in hostels. We have more social homes being constructed at the moment than ever before but its is still not enough to meet the demand. There are families in Derry in temporary accommodation who face their third and fourth Christmas without a home of their own. As the allocation of homes in our city is still at 200 points ,more social homes are needed to lower the points system and end the long waiting list for 2,500 families.”

He added: “This housing situation cannot be solved by any one person or minister but by a collective coming together of all ministers in the Assembly.”

He called for the Housing Executive to be given the lead role in providing social housing to help resolve what he called a “never-ending housing nightmare.”