SDLP Social Justice Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA criticised the growing numbers on social housing waiting lists, with almost 45,000 applicants throughout the North as of June 2021.
Figures obtained via Assembly Question from the Department for Communities highlighted that there are currently 4,593 applicants in Foyle alone with 3,380 determined to be in housing stress.
That represents an 828 increase over the course of the COVID pandemic.
Said the Foyle MLA commented: “These figures are startling but somewhat expected given the economic consequences of the pandemic resulting in more and more people experiencing housing stress.
“It is staggering that in the Foyle constituency alone there are nearing five thousand applications for social housing.
“The housing crisis pre-existed COVID although it’s clear that the crisis has deepened significantly in the interim, as evidenced by the 25% increase in applications in just 18 months.
“It’s important to take stock of the lives behind these statistics; to consider that behind each application are individuals, families and many children waiting in anguish.
“The time for robust and honest conversations about tackling housing shortages has long past.
“It is unforgivable that Foyle is consistently top of the leagues it wants to be the bottom of and vice versa.
“Housing is an historic issue in this city and it remains the case that so many families and their children are left without a place to call home or find themselves stuck in overcrowded properties, wholly unsuitable to their needs.
“Housing is yet another example of the deprivation people in Derry have had to endure.
“And while I welcome the incoming Housing Supply Strategy addressing housing need goes far beyond just building homes.
“Regulation of the Private Sector under the Private Tenancies Bill again is welcome however affordability issues which have become more profound in recent months must be tackled to prevent homelessness in the time ahead.
“Urgent action must be taken before more and more individuals end up on the streets,” added Mr Durkan.Tags: