SDLP Calls On Housing Executive To Stop Selling Off Its Stock

The SDLP has urged the Housing Executive to stop selling off their housing stock.

SDLP Opposition Communities Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan made the call after an Assembly question revealed the Housing Executive had sold off 2,040 homes over the past five years.

Mr McCrossan questioned the continuation of the Right to Buy scheme given the worsening housing crisis.

West Tyrone MLA Mr McCrossan said: "Just this week we have heard multiple media reports about the worsening housing crisis across the North. It's heartbreaking to hear the stories of families who have been forced to live in temporary accommodation or hotels, often with young children and far from their home community, because we simply don't have the properties to house them. Regularly I hear from constituents who have been forced to live with friends or family or in unsuitable conditions because they have no prospect of being allocated a house.
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"With Housing Executive waiting lists at over 46,000 at last count and rents soaring, I cannot understand why we are still selling off our housing stock. Over the past five years we have seen 2,040 homes removed permanently from our social housing stock and while I understand everyone has the right to a home of their own, I have to question the sense in continuing the Right to Buy scheme at a time when we are crying out for the Housing Executive to be allowed to borrow money and embark on an ambitious house building programme.

"Shortly after the return of the Assembly I raised Right to Buy directly with Communities Minister Gordon Lyons and was disappointed that he had no plans to review it. The Housing Executive's Chief Executive has stated clearly that the policy is a problem for them and the previous Communities Minister committed to a consultation which never materialised.

"It will take much more than ending Right to Buy to address our housing issues, but I believe that we need to retain all of our social housing stock as we work to establish a long-term plan that provides everyone in the North with access to a decent standard of housing that meets their needs."

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