Kelly blasts social housing overhaul

editorial image

A raft of measures in a proposed shake-up of the social housing allocation system will not tackle homelessness or housing stress and, indeed, will let those responsible for the provision of housing off the hook, according to Sinn Féin councillor Colly Kelly

The Department for Communities’ ‘Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations,’ is currently out for public consultation until Thursday.

Among other measures, the review suggests intimidation points and interim accommodation points should be removed from the selection process. #

The DfC review also recommends that “points should reflect current circumstances for all applicants” and that applicants should be placed into “bands based on similar levels of need to meet long-standing housing need more effectively”. Landlords will also be allowed to offer difficult-to-let properties to multiple applicants under the proposals.

Colr. Kelly says he has major concerns about the review.

“The crisis in housing provision, particularly the shortage of social housing, but also the lack of site accommodation and adapted homes should be a clarion call for change. Many of the proposals outlined are about hiding problems rather than tackling them,” he said.

“They are about getting those responsible for the provision of housing off the hook without changing conditions on the ground. They are about reducing the appearance of need not addressing it.

“People without a home or who are living in overcrowded conditions or who are living in poor quality housing without security or certainty, those paying unreasonable rents or without appropriate accommodation to meet their needs, will not find improvement and progress as a result of these proposals.

“Sinn Féin are encouraging people in Derry to respond to the consultation and make their views known to the Department. Housing inequalities must be properly addressed. This consultation proposes removing points from families who have been on the housing waiting list for too long rather than supporting them,” added Colr. Kelly.