£7.46m investment in borough says Housing Executive chief

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THE Housing Executive is to invest £7.46 million in the Coleraine borough this year.

The Housing Executive’s District North East Area Manager, Frank O’Connor, delivered his report to a meeting of Coleraine Borough Council last week.

Housing waiting list

“The housing waiting list for Coleraine Borough has decreased slightly, from 617 applicants in housing stress in December 2010 to 591 in April 2012,” said Mr O’Connor.

“Single person households continue to dominate the waiting list, accounting for almost 46.4% of all applicants in housing stress.”

Housing allocations

“During 2011/2012 we allocated 232 Housing Executive homes to waiting list applicants compared to 285 allocations in the 12 months to December 2010,” Mr O’Connor said.

New social housing

“In the past year a scheme for six new homes was completed at Darkfort Drive Portballintrae while 5 private sector properties were acquired at Portstewart and two in Coleraine,” the NE Area Manager told councillors.

“At March 2012 a scheme for 14 replacement units of supported housing was on site at Lerwill House, Coleraine and a second providing one general needs home at Mullaghacall Road Portstewart.

“The Social Housing Development Programme for 2012-2015 includes six schemes for 63 units of general needs housing in Coleraine, Portballintrae and Portstewart.”

Homelessness in borough

“In Coleraine Borough the number of homeless people decreased from 347 in 2010/ 2011 to 267 in 2011/2012,” reported Mr O’Connor.

“The Housing Executive will continue to work hard to provide services to support those faced with homelessness in the Borough. The Homelessness Strategy 2012-2017 will aim to eliminate longterm homelessness and rough sleeping across Northern Ireland by 2020.”

Supporting people to

live independently

Mr O’Connor went on to explain: “This year we will invest £2.36m to help the most vulnerable people in Coleraine Borough to continue to live independently.

“This is especially important for older people and people with disabilities. Existing funding delivers 28 supported housing accommodation based schemes and 3 floating support schemes in the Borough.”

Maintaining Housing

Executive homes

“Despite pressures on our funding the Housing Executive will continue to provide its day-to-day maintenance service,” Mr O’Connor maintained.

“Housing Executive tenants in Coleraine Borough will see this service protected in line with their conditions of tenancy.

“This year’s work programme, already being implemented, also includes new heating systems for 148 homes at The Heights, new kitchens for 131 homes at Millburn, Enterprise Parade, Portstewart and at Moneydig; external maintenance for almost 500 homes in the Borough; double glazing for 298 properties; Health and Safety work for 113 medium rise flats and smoke alarm head replacements in 434 homes in the borough.”

Warm Homes Scheme

“In Coleraine borough in the year to March 2012, 315 private sector homes were insulated, 17 had heating installed, and a further seven had both insulation and heating installed through the Warm Homes Scheme,” revealed the Housing Executive representative.

Grants improving private homes

“We have allocated £0.21m for home improvement grants for Coleraine Borough this year.”

Building stronger

communities

“Coleraine Housing Community Network and local community and residents groups are doing valuable work reviewing and improving housing services for local people,” reflected Mr O’Connor.

“Members of staff are working diligently with residents and other agencies to promote and encourage safer, settled and inclusive housing areas within Coleraine Borough. The BRIC Programme and Shared Communities Programme will be important drivers for this work.”

Improving public

housing services

“Our Coleraine District Office, under the management of Gerry McCloskey, continues to provide dedicated housing services in Coleraine Borough. District Office staff are ably assisted by the Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit Units in the North East Area Office in Ballymena.”

Mr O’Connor concluded: “I would like to extend my thanks to the councillors and Officers of Coleraine Borough Council for their support over the past year.

“The District Manager, District Office staff and I look forward to continuing to work with the Council on issues of mutual interest in the coming year.”