53% more people in housing stress

THE amount of people in housing stress in the North West increased by over 53 per cent between 2004 and 2008.

Eight hundred and seventy two more people were having difficulty keeping a roof over their heads in 2008, according to the Social Development Minister Alex Attwood.

Despite the rise the Minister decided to remove ring-fenced funding for the Social Development Housing Programme for Londonderry as other areas in the South and North East of Northern Ireland had an even greater increase.

The Minister explained: “The Housing Executive revised the strategic guidelines and removed ring fencing when it became clear that the policy had become inflexible and was not providing for the huge growth of housing need both in ring fenced and non ring fenced areas of the North.”

He added: “In determining the impact of the decision to remove ring fencing an Equality Impact Assessment was carried out, which found the removal of ring fencing and the revised methodology of apportioning the Social Housing Development Programme in line with an areas assessed level of housing need, weighted by waiting time, took full account of the Housing Executive’s duties under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

“The current approach targets scarce resources to those in greatest need and is reviewed annually to ensure that it remains appropriate.”