Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced that 2,403 new social homes were started in 2020/21 – almost 30% more than the target for the year (1,850 units).
During the same period, 1,318 social housing homes were completed (against a target of 1,200).
Looking ahead with the aim of continuing to build our quantity of social housing stock for individuals and families in need, the Minister has also secured an increased budget for new social housing with £162m being made available for 2021/22 – an increase of c£26m from 2020/21.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“I am delighted to see this progress on so many houses. Whilst the statistics are important, each one of those houses represents a home for those who are on our social housing waiting list, many of who will have been waiting for some time.
“The homes will meet the needs of many across our society including the elderly, those with disabilities, young people and families.
“I want to thank our delivery partners in the Housing Executive and the housing associations for their hard work in what has been a challenging year. We must now turn our attention to ensure we continue to deliver an enhanced new build programme.”
The Minister continued:
“Housing stress levels here are totally unacceptable. Our housing system is in need of transformative change. I have set out the direction of how we will achieve this through the biggest shake up of our housing system in over 50 years.
“I am determined to deliver more social homes. I am pleased to have delivered on a ‘New Decade New Approach’ commitment to enhance the level of investment in new social housing by £26m, with £162m to be invested in the new build programme this year.
“I will also reintroduce ring-fencing. We will build homes where they are needed.”
Turning to the existing Housing Executive stock the Minister continued: “As well as continuing to deliver on the new build programme, protecting our existing stock is of fundamental importance if we are to meet the needs of tenants now and in to the future. In 2020/21, in addition to the £129 million invested by the Housing Executive in its homes through rental income, I directed a further £62 million to the Housing Executive for investment in its maintenance programme. I will also soon consult on the future of the House Sales Scheme.
“The investment challenge facing the Housing Executive is significant and the investment it requires will not be addressed with simply tinkering around the edges. The revitalisation agenda is of the utmost importance for the organisation and the people it serves.”
The Minister continued:
“Equality and rights are the basis of my approach. Housing, and having a place to call home, is a fundamental right. I am committed to delivering a housing system that delivers those rights to everyone across society.”
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