31/07/2015

Environment Minister Urged To Address Social Housing Shortage

The Social Development and Environment Minister, Mervyn Storey, has been urged to address "the dire lack of social housing in rural areas".

Making the call, Sinn Féin MLA, Oliver McMullan, said: "I asked Social Development minister Mervyn Storey for a breakdown of the number of social houses in rural areas across the North and discovered that of the 120,000 social houses in the North, just 18,000 are in rural areas. 

"This shows a clear disparity between social housing developments in towns and cities and in the countryside. 
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"This shortage of social housing in rural areas will come as no surprise to the many rural families who have been forced to relocate to urban areas because of lack of housing. 

"Young people in particular, whose families have been in rural communities for generations, now find themselves unable to find social housing where they grew up and have to move elsewhere. 

"Mervyn Storey needs to take urgent action to address the dire shortage of social housing in rural areas to help ensure the sustainability of rural communities. The way houses are allocated in rural areas also needs to be reformed. 

"Environment Minister Mark H Durkan too has a responsibility to zone land in rural areas for social housing. 

"We need to see a joined-up approach from both these departments to support rural dwellers to live in their own communities."

(MH)

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