I have set out an ambitious, long-term plan to increase the supply of social and affordable housing and to reduce housing stress. However, those plans will take time to come to fruition. Whilst I share the Member's concerns that the number of applicants for social housing and those in housing stress continues to grow, the projected outcome of my plan is to ensure that the supply of social homes can meet the increasing demand. Crucial to that is protecting the social homes that we have and ensuring that they can be maintained, ultimately by the ability of the Housing Executive, in a revitalised form, to access borrowing to sustain itself and to build again.
In the shorter term, the new-build programme is the key action that we can take. One of my priorities is to enhance investment and increase new social home starts. Once the budget for the 2021-22 housing development programme has been finalised, I will announce further detail on the new social homes that will be started very soon.
I am aware from the Housing Executive that the current projected housing need for north Lurgan is for a further 168 new social homes between now and 2025. The Housing Executive is committed to working with the housing association sector to bring forward new social housing proposals to address that need. I understand from the Housing Executive that housing associations have been forwarding a high volume of proposals for the north Lurgan area over the past 12 months. I am pleased to advise that new social housing schemes providing 39 units are due to be completed in the area later this year.