Housing Executive planning over 500 new homes for Newry District

Chris Brennan

Reporter:

Chris Brennan

Email:

chris.brennan@newrydemocrat.com

The Housing Executive has met Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for an update on the housing body’s plans for the next year and to report on last year’s investment.

The Housing Executive is due to make a significant investment in the Newry, Mourne and Down area, during 2019/20, to support the delivery of new homes.

Almost £19.01m will be invested in upgrading and maintaining its properties, supporting people to live independently, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.

Through its Landlord and Regional Services last year, the Housing Executive invested £31.79m in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area. This includes grant aid to Housing Associations for the building of new social houses.

The Housing Executive gave a presentation on its Housing Investment Plan (HIP) to local Councillors, during which it highlighted many of the organisation’s achievements made over the past year.

Across Northern Ireland, the Housing Executive channelled some £82.3m into services to help the most vulnerable. This included £10.1m of direct funding on homelessness services and £72.2m of Supporting People grant of which £26m provided housing support services to assist homeless households.

In addition, there was a large planned maintenance programme, with work undertaken at 28,223 homes; a direct investment of £128m to these homes. 

Over 380,000 response maintenance repairs were carried out at a budgetary cost of £54.2m.

Homeowners and private landlords also received considerable support, with £13.7m spent through home improvement grants and £16.4m in tackling fuel poverty through the Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Schemes.

Speaking at the Presentation to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Siobhan McCauley, Housing Executive Director, said: “A range of stakeholders inform our Housing Investment Plan, which is developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole Northern Ireland housing sector.

“We have a good working relationship with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and there is a lot of engagement on priorities.

“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland, we have prepared this Housing Investment Plan to inform the Community Planning Partnership on the state of the housing market; on housing needs; the policy priorities and public sector investment proposals for 2019-23.

“Lots of work needs to be done to meet housing need, to improve housing stock and to provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently and effectively.”

Maintaining its housing stock is a priority for the Housing Executive, and this year the organisation will spend £9.54m in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area, on planned and response maintenance to its homes.

This will include external maintenance work to 1,358 properties, 284 properties will receive double glazing; 60 properties will receive incremental roof improvements; 183 properties will receive bathroom/kitchen replacements; 618 properties will receive heating installations and 160 properties will receive Bathroom / Kitchen Rewiring.

This year, we plan to invest almost £1.74m on stock improvements and adaptations for disabled persons.

During 2019/20, in partnership with housing associations, around 513 new homes are planned throughout the district.

The Housing Executive endeavours to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme.

In 2019/20, the Housing Executive will invest over £5.68m for housing support services.

The Housing Executive currently funds 57 accommodation based services for almost 879 service users in the Newry, Mourne and Down area as well as six floating support services for 416 service users.

The Housing Executive continues to contribute to the private sector through a variety of grants to help adapt homes and to support people living in their own home, for longer.

Last year, it approved 99 disabled facilities grants and a number of repair and renovation grants totalling £1.81m.

Speaking at the Presentation, the Housing Executive’s Area Manager for Newry, Mourne and Down Loma Wilson said; “Our Newry, Mourne and Down teams provide a high quality, dedicated housing service to the area.

“Working alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams, we provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.

“We are committed to investing in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area, to improve the lives of people in our community.

“My thanks are extended to the Councillors and Officers of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for their support for the Housing Executive - we look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest, over the coming year.”

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