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NI housing associations issue warning on build target

Words: Laura Edgar
Building / Shutterstock_462881611

Northern Ireland’s target to build 2,000 social homes this year is proving difficult because of an impasse in Stormont, the housing sector has said.

A snap election was held in March 2017 following the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Sinn Féin made gains over the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with the difference in the number of seats reduced from 10 to one. A government has yet to be formed, and the UK Government has extended the deadline to 29 June.

Now, housing association leaders have warned that this standstill means they are unable to receive sign-off on grant funding for social housing schemes from the Department of Communities ministers, delaying projects.

Inside Housing has reported (subscription) Jennie Donald, deputy chief executive at the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA), as saying there is “no doubt” that every week housing associations lose on progressing new schemes put achieving the target “at risk”.

“Associations will do everything they can to deliver on the 2,000 target for this year, but that is very difficult when there is no clarity as yet on the programme or the public funding,” she said.

The previous coalition government between the DUP and Sinn Féin asked housing associations to deliver 2,000 social housing starts, up from 1,600.

According to Inside Housing, John McLean, chief executive at housing association Radius, said projects that have already been tendered on the basis that grant funding would be accessible may have to re-tendered with alternative funding if an Executive is not formed.

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