‘Clarify future of Ballycastle Housing Executive office’

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BALLYCASTLE councillor Dónal Cunningham (SDLP) said the DSD Minister Nelson McCausland must provide clarity regarding the future of the Housing Executive office in Ballycastle.

Cllr Cunningham said the office was vital for local tenants and staff alike.

He was speaking after the announcement that the NIHE was to lose landlord status for the 90,000 homes under its care.

“We need clarity on the following questions. Who will be selected for the landlord function for Social Housing in Ballycastle? How will that be selected? What are the implications for existing Housing Associations? What are the future plans for NIHE staff in Ballycastle?

“The Ballycastle office is a vital link for local people in housing need where they can have face-to-face discussion with people they know and who are best placed to help them. There have been rumours that there will be a local hub set up and that the new hub which will cover Ballycastle will be based in either Coleraine or Ballymoney. This needs clarity immediately.

“Many people who need the local office simply cannot afford to travel to Coleraine or Ballymoney or even further afield to tackle problems they may have with housing.

“NIHE has performed a hugely important role for over 40 years and has, in the main, done so with distinction.

“This decision has caused no little amount of fear, anxiety and stress to local people and staff. That cannot continue.”