SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has warned of the disastrous consequences of proposed budget cuts from the Department for Communities which could see more than £7 million stripped from homelessness services.
The Housing Executive said the impact of these cuts will see vulnerable households hit hardest.
There are currently 45,000 households on the social housing waiting list with 32,633 of those deemed to be in housing stress.
Said the Foyle MLA: “Given the atrocious social housing waiting lists and the fact that tens of thousands of households are experiencing housing stress, these cuts will unleash a Pandora’s Box of problems for the housing sector and the wider society.
“The numbers of households in housing stress across the North is at an all-time high, rising 3.9% over the past year.
“Sadly, since the pandemic we’ve witnessed a trend of families losing private rented accommodation as landlords opt to sell-up.
“In many cases these are households who have remained at the property for almost a decade being forced onto the social housing waiting lists.
“For many applicants languishing on waiting lists it appears as if there is no end in sight to their cycle of homelessness. Budget cuts will compound a crisis which has already spun out of control.
“The Housing Supply Strategy to deliver 100,000 homes remains in draft due to the lack of a functioning executive.
“No detail was provided on how this overly ambitious target would be achieved but proposed cuts in conjunction with spiralling building and construction costs will render this Strategy a pipedream.
“The reality is the numbers of social homes being built over the last decade have fallen short of the overall target.
“We aren’t where we needed to be at in terms of social housing build and the reduction in funding will make any progress impossible.
“At a time when we should be building more homes and investing in preventing growing homelessness, these cuts spell a grotesque forecast for the housing sector which once initiated will prove impossible to curtail.
“This will come as a serious blow to all those people living with their families in overcrowded houses, sofa-surfing or living in wholly unsuitable conditions in the hope that a better opportunity will come along.
“The lack of ministerial input in such drastic cuts which will be felt for decades to come, is a bitter pill to swallow.
“The DUP boycott of our institutions in the face of such adversity and uncertainty is despicable.”Tags: