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The Housing Executive has briefed Councillors from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council on its work in the district over the past year and its plans for the year ahead. 

Housing Executive Chief Executive, Grainia Long, reflected on the unprecedented year, which saw the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and noted how the organisation had changed how it works to ensure customers were cared for.

Long said; “Covid-19 presented huge challenges for us, as we moved staff out of offices to work at home, while lockdown restrictions and supply issues meant a backlog in tacking repairs and delays in much needed upgrade schemes on our estates.

“Despite this, and thanks to the dedication of our staff, we were able to continue to deliver services to tenants and communities to an extremely high level."

Last year, the Housing Executive carried out the installation of new heating in 114 homes, kitchen replacements in 29 homes, Bathroom and Kitchen Rewiring in 195 homes, double glazing in 156 homes 5 special schemes and 714 received external maintenance. They also replaced boilers in 172 properties.

In Newry, Mourne and Down the housing waiting list has 2,976 applicants in housing stress at 31 March 2021. Single, older persons and small family households comprise 87% of the housing stress waiting list in the council area.

The Executive has invested £54.67m in new-build accommodation in the district, which saw 398 housing starts getting underway, while housing completions for the year were 117, despite the pandemic. 369 homes have been allocated to waiting list applicants.

Long adds “We provided £78,642 in grant funding to support local groups in the Newry, Mourne and Down district, across several funding streams, including our Community Grants, Community Safety, Areas at Risk and Community Cohesion programmes.

“We also supported 792 people experiencing homelessness in the last year.

“Given the necessity to social distance the hostels in Newry, Mourne and Down, this situation placed enormous pressure on temporary accommodation in the district and as we emerge from the pandemic, our reset plan, The Way Home, has been fully funded by the Department for Communities.

“I’d like to sincerely thank the Newry, Mourne and Down councillors for their interest in our work and I very much look forward to engaging with them as we move away from the Covid pandemic in the year ahead.” 

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