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26-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
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29-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
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Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

24-09-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

29-10-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

26-11-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Newry City Councillor Michael Savage has challenged Communities Minister Deirde Hargey to attend the District's Housing Needs Conference on Wednesday, 10 November.

Recalling the last Conference Cllr Savage said “The last conference was positive with the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive and senior civil servants from the Department of Communities in attendance but I believe the time has come for the Minister to take the lead on this issue, step up and engage face to face with the people working tirelessly every day to deal with the housing crisis across our district and I have asked senior Council officials to extend an invitation to the Minister."

Councillor Savage added “At her party’s Ard Fheis at the weekend Minister Hargey’s Party Leader Mary Lou McDonald acknowledged that a roof over your head and a place to call home is a basic human right and claimed that Minister Hargey will deliver the ‘biggest transformational housing plan in a generation.’

“She said her party would ‘show up’ for the people. Well if she is serious about this then Minister Hargey needs to ‘show up’ for the people of this District and tell us how this transformational plan will transform the lives of the 3,766 people waiting in hardship for a place to call home.

“The latest waiting list figures released by the Housing Executive show that a total of 3,766 applicants are now in housing need here with 2,976 of them homeless or in housing stress. Outside of Belfast and Derry our district has the highest level of homelessness in the North.

“People who have been waiting years for a home need to be convinced that their basic human right of a roof over their head will be realised and it is important that the Minister engages locally with those trying to house these families and she provides confidence that thousands of new social homes will be delivered sooner rather than later.

“If Mary Lou McDonald and Minister Hargey are serious about tackling the housing crisis North and South then the Minister should make space in her diary and ‘show up’ for the thousands of people across this district who are looking to her to deliver on her promises.”

Housing Reform

Minister Hargey speaking about her housing plans at new social housing site in Belfast last week said: “Delivering more social housing to areas most in need is central to my programme of housing reform.  The 653 homes which will be constructed here in Glenmona, will add to the many currently under construction to meet the needs of our society and help reduce housing stress.

“In addition to the increased new build budget of £162million I secured for this year, I have approved up to £15million in additional support available to Housing Associations who are working with the construction sector to build new homes. This is to take account of the unprecedented upsurge in material costs so there is no adverse effect on the number of new social homes delivered this year.”

The Minister continued “The new build programme is a massive injection of capital to address housing stress now and in the future.  The investment I have directed to the social housing development programme represents 64% of my entire capital budget.  That very much reinforces my commitment to addressing the needs of our society, the fundamental right to a home.

“The new homes being delivered right across our society will be life-changing to the people, children and families who are in housing stress.  In order to deliver more homes for those who need them, we need a whole system approach.  Through my reform programme, the revitalisation of the Housing Executive will be central to investing in existing homes, contributing to the supply of social housing and reducing housing stress, to achieve my vision that every household has access to a good quality, affordable and sustainable home that is appropriate to its needs.”

Next week’s Conference takes place in the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle 10 November and is the second one proposed by Cllr Savage since securing changes to Council planning policy which prioritised planning applications for social and affordable housing . Cllr Savage said "while we are seeing houses coming out of the ground as a result we are not building enough houses quickly enough and thousands of families are still waiting to be housed.

Urgent Solutions Needed

Cllr Savage added “We need to come up with urgent and bespoke solutions that remove the shame of growing housing waiting lists across Newry Mourne and Down."

“We have unique challenges here with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, difficult terrain and high land costs to name a few, as well as a growing young and older population, but despite the best efforts of everyone involved waiting lists continue to rise and more and more families are struggling to find a home.

“I work with families and individuals who need housed every day and I cannot praise the efforts of the local NIHE team enough, they are working under extreme pressure but are always sympathetic, helpful and try everything they can to get people housed, but they have an impossible task as there is simply not enough housing stock to meet need.

“If Mary Lou McDonald and Minister Hargey are serious about tackling the housing crisis North and South then the Minister should make space in her diary and ‘show up’ for the thousands of people across this district who are looking to her to deliver on her promises.”

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