Immediate action needed for more social housing

A MAJOR demand for social housing has caused concern for local councillors within the Fermanagh and Omagh area. 
While the announcement made by Communities Minister Carál Ni Chuilin to create a major overhaul within the social housing provision system was welcomed by members of the Council during a meeting last week.  
A number of representatives were quick to highlight the need for immediate action to be taken with regards to creating more social and affordable housing in both Fermanagh and Omagh. 
Cllr Barry McElduff stated, “This is a welcome announcement and a radical shake-up in public, social, affordable housing and restructuring things to give the housing executive as a landlord greater powers of borrowing and getting the housing executive to build houses again is absolutely essential.”
He added, “At the last the last council meeting we were looking at the level of housing needed in our council area and I was struck by the immediate need for 113 social and affordable houses in Omagh itself and an even greater figure of 176 for Enniskillen.”
In addition to this, Cllr McElduff proposed to have a single issue meeting with the housing executive to discuss suitable sites for possible social and affordable housing in our districts, adding that, ‘we must roll our sleeves up and get working’. 
Despite this, Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh, pictured below, stated that while it is a ‘positive’ move to see the housing executive start to build houses once again, it is still ‘woefully inadequate’. 
He continued, “The statistics that we had before indicate that there were ten times more people who presented themselves as homeless in Northern Ireland than the number of houses that will be built with this money.
“In our own area, Enniskillen has a huge number of homeless families waiting for housing. 
“If you add the total in Fermanagh and Omagh together the total number of houses built across Northern Ireland is only about five times greater.”
He added, “The real problem here is that we need to see ten times more money being spent on housing. These funds are simply insufficient to meet the needs of our local people.”

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