08/08/2018

Children On Housing Waiting List Must Act As Wake Up Call To Executive

The plight of almost 21,000 children and young people on the housing waiting list must act as a wake-up call for the DUP and Sinn Féin to sit down and try to overcome their differences, SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon has said.

Criticising both parties, the North Belfast MLA said that if the children's distress "is not reason enough" for them to try and overcome their differences, "then they must explain to these children why".

Ms Mallon continued: "Affordable, suitable and safe housing is a right that should be enjoyed by every citizen. However, as recent figures obtained by PPR show, it is a right denied to over 20,000 children with 14,000 of those forced to live in housing stress.
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"No one is pretending the housing crisis didn't exist before the Assembly was collapsed 18 months ago. Neither should we pretend or fall into the fallacy that the crisis couldn't be tackled even if we had a functioning Executive and Assembly. The truth is that the ongoing political vacuum is deepening the housing crisis.

"With an Executive and Assembly we could increase the supply of affordable and social housing, we could reform the private rented sector and the housing allocation system. With housing as a clear outcome in the program for government as the SDLP has consistently argued for, we could tackle the current crisis and future proof our housing system for the next generation.

"A Housing Minister could help and protect these children. Their plight must act as a wake up call and if their distress is not reason enough for the DUP and Sinn Féin to sit down and try to overcome their differences, then they must explain to these children why."

(MH/LM)

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