29/04/2009

Foundation Laid For New Housing Association

Despite continuing recession and a hard-hit construction industry, Northern Ireland's newest housing association has enjoying a formal launch today.

NI Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, (pictured) was at Malone House in south Belfast to officially announce the foundation of the Alpha Housing Association.

It has been formed out of the amalgamation of Abode and Presbyterian Housing Associations. The new association inherits a stock of some 950 social houses for rent spread across 36 individual schemes.

Welcoming the merger, Minister Ritchie praised the work of the two former housing associations and said: "This is a new chapter in the life of our ever evolving social housing movement.
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"Abode and Presbyterian Housing Associations have both been successful in their own right and have made a very real difference to the lives and well being of a great many people.

"However, change and challenge require new thinking and the Boards of both housing associations are to be congratulated for having the foresight to amalgamate the strengths of their respective organisations," she said.

"The new association will be stronger and better placed to exploit the opportunities that lie ahead," she concluded.

Past and present Chairmen of Abode and Presbyterian Housing Associations, Walton Balmer, Wesley Parker and Ross Evans are also attending the event and reflect on past achievements.

Like many local housing associations, both organisations have a Christian ethos and the new name reflects its biblical origin, but is also a means by which Abode is Linked to Presbyterian Housing Association.

(BMcC/JM)

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