Housing Executive outlines Fermanagh and Omagh Investment Plans

Fermanagh and Omagh HIP Update
Fermanagh and Omagh HIP Update

Councillors from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have been briefed by the Housing Executive on work in the District over the past year and plans for the year ahead.

Housing Executive Chief Executive Grainia Long reported: “We invested over £195m in 2021/22, the highest level of investment since 2007/08 and - for the first time in 20 years – we will soon commence building new homes for social rent via a pilot project.

“In Fermanagh and Omagh, we invested £5.34m on planned maintenance including stock improvements last year, with a further £2.06m spent on response maintenance.

“Over the past two years, we’ve provided a wide range of assistance to tenants and communities, supporting them through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we continue to pro-actively engage with and support tenants who face additional ‘cost of living’ and lifestyle adjustment pressures.”

The Housing Executive, through the Supporting People programme, invested £4.46m to fund 52 Housing Support Services across the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area, providing housing support to 934 clients last year.

“Across the district, 366 people who presented as homeless were accepted for support last year. A strategic shift in favour of homelessness prevention and early intervention is critical if we’re to provide a sustainable model of provision to prevent homelessness. 

“Over £16k in grant funding was provided to support local groups in the District, across funding streams, including our Community Grants and Community Cohesion programmes.”                                                                                  

Grainia continued: “Our focus is working with partners to lever in funding to scale-up the implementation of energy efficiency measures, across all housing tenures, to effectively tackle climate change and reduce fuel poverty. 

“We face a major housing challenge in every council area, with continuing demand for social housing and homelessness services.         

“Last year, £7.85m was invested in new-build accommodation in the District, with 52 units on-site at March 2022, while housing completions for the year were 9. 

“Waiting lists for social housing, as well as levels of homelessness, have risen significantly in recent years and show little sign of falling. 

“Despite sustained levels of investment in new social housing across Northern Ireland, the gap between housing demand and supply continues to widen,” she said. 

“Against a backdrop of rising waiting lists, the Housing Executive recognises the importance of continued partnership with councils and the housing sector and the need for sustained levels of funding for social housing to address rising levels of homelessness and growing waiting lists. 

“The Minister for Communities’ programme for the revitalisation of the Housing Executive offers the key to a future 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’ve an opportunity - in this decade - to deliver positive and lasting change.                            

“I’d like to sincerely thank Fermanagh and Omagh District Councillors for their interest in our work and I look forward to continuing to engage with them in the year ahead.”