Minister responds to Hassan’s housing points system letter

Derry City and Strabane District Council, councillor Tony Hassan pictured presenting DSD Minister, Mervyn Storey, with his letter last month.
Derry City and Strabane District Council, councillor Tony Hassan pictured presenting DSD Minister, Mervyn Storey, with his letter last month.

The Minister for the Department for Social Development (DSD), Mervyn Storey, contacted the ‘Journal’ recently to update readers on a story the newspaper published about the current state of social housing points system.

On June 23, the ‘Journal’ published a story with the headline, ‘Hassan tackles Minister over housing points system in Derry’ but in recent days, Minister Storey contacted the ‘Journal’ to inform readers of what updates had taken place since then.

In last month’s letter to the Minister, Colr. Hassan urged Mr. Storey to review the current social housing points system immediately.

“I wish to advise that I have now responded to Councillor Tony Hassan and would like to take the opportunity to update your readers,” said Minister Storey.

“Colr. Hassan asked me to consider changing the housing points system so that applicants on the social housing waiting list, who are deemed Full Duty Applicants, and who have sourced their own temporary private rented accommodation, are awarded 20 points.

“My department is currently undertaking a fundamental review of the social housing allocations policy. My predecessor published initial independent research to help inform this review in 2014, which included recommendations for changes to the allocations system,” he added.

Minister Storey went on to explain why he thought equality within the housing points system was a priority.

“I am keen to ensure fairness for all social housing applicants, including those with homeless status and I want to make certain that all proposals for change reflect the fairest way to assess an applicant’s needs.

“I want to take the time to get this right and for this reason research and data analysis of the waiting list and allocations over recent years must be undertaken to allow for evidence based proposals.”

He added: “When developed, I will be putting my proposals for change out to full public consultation and would encourage your readers to engage with that process in due course.”