24/11/2008

Minister Pledges 5,000 New Homes In Three Years

Northern Ireland Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie has reaffirmed her commitment to building more than 5,000 new homes over the next three years.

The Minister, speaking at the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Association in Fermanagh, told delegates her department had increased housing supply in the last year, and would continue to strive towards targets.

"In my first year 1,595 new homes were started, nearly 600 above the projection, and I know the targets to deliver a further 5,250 new homes over the next three years are challenging but they must be delivered."

Minister Ritchie said she recognised the "real pressures" in the current economic climate, but insisted with "determination and creativity we can succeed".
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"Together we can deliver these homes to those who need them most and we must not forget that whilst these are targets and numbers, this is ultimately about delivering for people - our people," she said.

The theme for the conference was 'Making the Connections', and the Minister spoke about the connections in the New Housing Agenda that ensures everyone has access to a decent warm affordable home.

Ms Richie said the conference "sat well within the context of the New Housing Agenda".

"There are several key components within it that connect together to ultimately ensure that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a decent, warm home that is affordable to them," she added.

The Minister also went on to announce a number of measures that would assist Housing Associations in delivering more social and affordable housing at lower unit cost.

(PR/JM)

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