Senior staff recently met Ards and North Down Borough Council for an update on plans for the next year and to report on last year’s investment.
We are due to make a significant investment in the Ards and North Down area, during 2019/20, to support the delivery of new homes.
Almost £23.60m will be invested in upgrading and maintaining our properties, supporting people to live independently, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.
Through our Landlord and Regional Services last year, we invested £36.33m in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area. This includes grant aid to Housing Associations for the building and rental of new houses.
Our staff gave a presentation on the Housing Investment Plan (HIP) to local Councillors, during which they highlighted many of our achievements over the past year.
Across Northern Ireland, we channelled some £82.3m into services to help the most vulnerable. This included £10.1m of direct funding on homelessness services and £72.2m of Supporting People grant of which £26m provided housing support services to assist homeless households.
In addition, there was a large planned maintenance programme, with work undertaken at 28,223 homes; a direct investment of £128m to these homes.
Over 380,000 response maintenance repairs were carried out at a budgetary cost of £54.2m.
Homeowners and private landlords also received considerable support, with £13.7m spent through home improvement grants and £16.4m in tackling fuel poverty through the Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Schemes.
Speaking at the Presentation to Ards and North Down Borough Council, Colm McQuillan, Housing Executive Director, said:
“A range of stakeholders inform our Housing Investment Plan, which is developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole Northern Ireland housing sector.
“We have a good working relationship with Ards and North Down Borough Council and there is a lot of engagement on priorities.
“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland, we have prepared this Housing Investment Plan to inform the Community Planning Partnership on the state of the housing market; on housing needs; the policy priorities and public sector investment proposals for 2019-23.
“Lots of work needs to be done to meet housing need, to improve housing stock and to provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently and effectively.”
Maintaining our housing stock is a priority, and this year we will spend £10.1m in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area, on planned and response maintenance to our homes.
This will include external maintenance work to 2,830 homes, heating installation in 747 homes, bathroom / kitchen rewiring in 380 homes, double glazing in 130 homes and 110 kitchen installations. Four properties will receive capital work and nine properties will receive special scheme work.
This year, we plan to invest almost £6.16m on stock improvements and adaptations for disabled persons.
During 2019/20, in partnership with housing associations, around 54 new homes are planned throughout the borough.
We endeavour to support the most vulnerable members of society through our Supporting People Programme.
In 2019/20, we will invest over £5.84m for housing support services.
We currently fund 74 accommodation based services for almost 1,369 service users in the Ards and North Down area as well as seven floating support services for 286 service users.
We continue to contribute to the private sector through a variety of grants to help adapt homes and to support people living in their own home, for longer.
Last year, it approved 47 disabled facilities grants and a number of repair and renovation grants totalling £1.22m.
Speaking at the Presentation, our Area Manager for Ards and North Down, Owen Brady said;
“Our Ards and North Down teams provide a high quality, dedicated housing service to the area.
“Working alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams, we provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.
“We are committed to investing in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area, to improve the lives of people in our community.
“My thanks are extended to the Councillors and Officers of Ards and North Down Borough Council for their support for the Housing Executive - we look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest, over the coming year.”