Councillors from Belfast City Council have been briefed by the Housing Executive on its work in the city over the past year and its plans for the year ahead.
Our Chief Executive Grainia Long reported;
“£77.24m was invested in new-build accommodation in the city, which saw 433 of housing starts getting underway during 2021/22. A total of 1,784 new social homes were on site/under construction at March 2022.
"There were 113 completions during the year, a fall from previous years, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector. We will soon commence building new homes for social rent via a pilot project”.
“In Belfast last year we invested £26.73m on planned maintenance including stock improvements and a further £20.54m on response maintenance.”
“We provided £460,000 in grant funding to support local groups in the Belfast region, across several funding streams, including our Community Grants, Community Safety, Areas at Risk and Community Cohesion programmes.”
Councillors were also advised on the rising demand for social housing and homelessness services throughout the city. There were 12,237 applicants for social housing in Belfast at March 2022, of whom 9,307 were in housing stress, and allocations for the year were 1,558.
“In terms of homelessness, there were 4,553 homelessness presentations last year, with 2,820 homelessness acceptances. A strategic shift in favour of homeless prevention and early intervention is critical if we’re to provide a sustainable model of provision to prevent homelessness.”
Councillors were also briefed on the Tower Block strategy, which will see the demolition of high-rise housing stock in years to come.
“To date, eight business cases for demolition have been approved by our Board, while six have already received departmental approval.”
The Housing Executive, through the Supporting People programme, invested £20.8m to fund 218 housing support services across Belfast, providing housing support to 5,242 clients last year. Councillors were further updated on the scaling up of energy efficiency measures, across all housing tenures, to effectively tackle climate change and reduce fuel poverty.
Grainia concluded; “ The Minister for Communities’ programme for the revitalisation of the Housing Executive offers a key that will deliver additional, more energy efficient and more appropriate homes.
"Housing has an economic, environmental and social mission and by working together as Community Planning partners we have an opportunity – in this decade- to deliver positive and lasting change.
“I’d like to sincerely thank the Belfast City Councillors for their interest in our work and I very much look forward to engaging with them in the year ahead.”
You can view the Belfast Housing Investment Plan (HIP) 2022 annual update below.
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