Housing Waiting List: North Lurgan

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:15 pm on 13th April 2021.

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Photo of Deirdre Hargey Deirdre Hargey Sinn Féin 1:15 pm, 13th April 2021

The report is reflective of statements that were made in the Chamber by my predecessor, Carál, while I was off, and subsequently by me when I came back. That is part of the reason why a vital statement was brought forward in November on the revitalisation of the Housing Executive. One of the biggest issues is about dealing with the historical debt. I am glad to say that we have already dealt with corporation tax exemption. That is really good, but we need to get the Housing Executive to build again. There are supply issues, and we are bringing forward a housing supply strategy to look at those. We are also looking at homelessness and revising our response to it. Some good learning has come out of COVID-19 on how we can work proactively and better with Health on homelessness prevention and on sustaining tenancies for people so that they do not repeatedly become homeless.

All those issues are part of the revitalisation agenda. We are bringing forward some work on the house sales scheme, because I recognise that, on average, we build 1,800 homes a year and that nearly 500 of them are being sold off through the house sales scheme. We need to fundamentally deal with that in order to prevent depletion of the social housing stock. That is one of the areas that I will look at. Whilst we can be more ambitious with the housing development programme, 1,800 homes a year is not enough, and we need to have better ways of developing. Land is an issue, and we are looking at the land and supply strategy as well. We are —