Swan slams delay in social housing

North Antrim MLA Robin Swann, has branded the response from the DUP Social Development Minister to his call for the further provision of additional social housing in Ballymoney following recent revelations as “pathetic”.

Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip, said: “I am disappointed to learn after questioning the DUP Social Development Minister that the waiting time for applicants to be provided with social housing in Ballymoney has increased from 11.1 months to 13.4 months between 2013 and 2014; an average increase of two months in the space of one year.

“So I had hoped that there would be an detailed plan within DSD to tackle this issue, so I was shocked to discover from information received from the Minister that currently there are 192 applicants in ‘housing stress’ within the Ballymoney Borough.

“What is really pathetic is the action planned to address the needs of these 192 families, and an increasing waiting time, is that in the Social Housing Development Programme, recently released which covers from 2014 to 2017, only three, yes three, general needs houses are planned to be built in the Ballymoney Borough area.

“I have said in the past that with the proposed changes that are contained in Welfare Reform, this makes the provision of suitable new social housing a priority.

“Prior to any change, our housing stock must be fit for purpose, but the stark reality for the people of Ballymoney who are in need of social housing, they are not going to find it in Ballymoney, with welfare reform or not.”