THE lack of affordable social housing is driving poverty and homelessness and the Department of Communities and Housing Executive must build more social homes, Sinn Féin Councillor Colly Kelly has said.
He was speaking after a new report by the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) demonstrates that the lack of affordable social housing is driving many families into the private rented sector at costs they cannot afford”.
Councillor Colly Kelly said: “Many families on low incomes in Derry and across the north, unable to access affordable social housing, are left with no option but to turn to the private rented sector and the high rents expected by private landlords.
“The impact of this mismatch between low incomes and high rents means that many families are forced to choose between eating and heating and in some cases whether to pay the rent thus leading to homelessness.
“If we are serious about tackling poverty in our society then a good start would be to tackle the lack of affordable social housing.
“We have over 20,000 people in housing stress and the waiting list will continue to grow until there is a clear commitment, plan and finance put in place to address this very serious issue.
“I am calling on any future Executive to commit to negotiating with the British government to put in place the financial resources to tackle this very pressing social issue.
“A major social house building programme would not only ensure that we help address the issues of homelessness and poverty but also create work for local people and firms which can only be a benefit for all concerned,” he added.