£7.04 million investment

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THE Housing Executive is to invest over £7 million in the Coleraine area in the next year.

The figure was revealed at a Council meeting last Tuesday night, as Housing Directors presented their 2013/14 Housing Plan to Council.

At the meeting members paid tribute to Gerry McCloskey, who has been District Manager for Coleraine for the past eight years.

Gerry will be retiring after 38 years with the Housing Executive.

Describing the Housing Manager as having a ‘genuine interest in Coleraine’, Alderman Maurice Bradley wished Gerry well in his retirement. His sentiments were echoed by councillor George Duddy.

Members heard that as part of the investment double glazing will be installed in a further 300 homes and new heating systems will be help improve around 80 homes in the Coleraine area.

Some of the investment will also be used in a programme for vulnerable home owners in the area.

Outlining further details, Mark Alexander, Causeway Area Manager told the meeting that in the past year, 232 homes had been allocated to waiting list applicants.

He added that almost 300 homes were insulated through the ‘warm homes scheme’ and that £0.26million had been allocated for private sector grant work in the Coleraine area in the past year.

The meeting also heard that 22 houses in Harpur’s Hill and 14 in Portballintrae had become available to those on the waiting list.

Commenting on figures for homelessness, Mr Alexander told the meeting the number of people who were classed as homeless had decreased from 396 in March 2012 to 295 in March this year. The meeting also heard that the number of people in housing stress had increased from 591 in April 2012 to 684 in December 2012, and that most of these were single people.