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District Housing Plans kick off in Carrickfergus

Published: Tue, 17 Jun 2014
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We began our annual round of district council meetings at Carrickfergus Borough Council
Carrickfergus DHP
The Housing Executive began its annual round of district council meetings at Carrickfergus Borough Council.
This is the final year in which we will meet the 26 councils, as they currently exist, following their establishment in 1973.
Speaking at the annual presentation of the District Housing Plan to Carrickfergus Borough Council, Trevor McCartney, Housing Executive Director of Corporate Services said:
“The Housing Executive has always prided itself in having a close working relationship with local councils and it is important this continues with the new and much enlarged new councils. The coming year is a period of transition for the new councils and in many ways that can also be said for the Housing Executive.
“2014 marks a turning point for the Housing Executive. Internal restructuring which has brought greater clarity and definition between our landlord and regional strategic housing functions is well advanced and we have now embarked on a ‘Journey to Excellence’, a programme which will ensure we deliver quality housing services to all our customers.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done to meet housing need, improve the housing stock and provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. It is essential that this work is delivered efficiently, effectively and prudently.
“One of the main issues we face is the demand for social housing and the number of people deemed to be in housing stress across Northern Ireland exceeds 20,000. Last year, through our regional services, we facilitated the completion of 1,967 much needed new social homes along with 1,299 starts on site. This year, in partnership with the housing associations, it is planned to start 2,000 new homes.
“Maintaining our stock of over 89,000 homes remains a priority for the Housing Executive and during 2013/14, through our landlord role, we were able to complete planned schemes to over 18,000 homes including external maintenance, kitchen replacements, heating installations and double glazing. This year we are investing over £155m in our maintenance programme.”
Referring specifically to the Housing Executive’s investment in Carrickfergus Borough Council area, Frank O’ Connor, North Regional Manager said:
“The Housing Executive has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Carrickfergus Borough council, both councillors and officers, working in partnership to deliver  services to the people of the borough.
“ We have strong agenda for Carrickfergus. During 2014/15, we will support the delivery of new social housing as well as investing £3.68million upgrading and maintaining tenants’ homes, supporting people to live independently, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.”
Landlord Services
“Maintaining our stock is a priority for the Housing Executive and this year we will be spending £2.2million on planned and response maintenance to Housing Executive homes. This will include the installation of double glazing in 562 homes, new heating in 101 homes, smoke alarms in 222 homes and frost stats in 63 homes.
“We will also support those tenants who need help to live independently in their homes through the provision of adaptations. Last year we spent £152,000 on both major and minor works helping people live more comfortably in their homes.”
“As part of the Housing Executive’s Community Involvement Strategy a Tenant Scrutiny Panel for the East area was established.  This panel scrutinises the services they feel are most important to tenants in the local area and has undertaken some valuable work reviewing and improving housing services for local people.  The Housing Executive’s BRIC Programme and Shared Communities Programme remained important contributors to the local community.”
Regional Services
Turning to Regional Services, Frank O’Connor continued:
“Through our Regional Services we will help meet social housing need through support to the social development programme. During 2014/15, in partnership with the housing associations,108 new units of accommodation are planned to start on site. Last year 22 new homes were completed and a scheme for a further 12 units of accommodation was on site.
“We support the most vulnerable through the Supporting People Programme with just over £1 million for housing support services for 2014/15. We currently fund 23 sheltered and supported housing schemes in Carrickfergus Borough.
“In addition we will provide assistance to help adapt homes in the private sector through Disabled Facilities Grants. Last year we completed 19 Disabled Facilities Grants with an expenditure of nearly £200,000. We will also support improvement and repairs in the private sector through the provision of £190,000 in grant aid and energy efficiency initiatives in the private sector through the new Affordable Warmth Scheme and the Boiler Replacement Scheme.”
Frank O’Connor concluded:
“Our local staff continue to provide a dedicated housing service to the Carrickfergus Borough Council Area.  They work alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams to provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the councillors and officers of the Carrickfergus Borough Council for their support to the Housing Executive over the past year. We look forward to continuing to work with the new shadow council on issues of mutual interest in the coming year.”
Here are the key facts & figures from this year's Carrickfergus District Housing Plan:
Carrickfergus DHP infographic
Additional Information
In Carrickfergus Borough Council
  • The housing waiting list has decreased from 559 applicants in housing stress at 31 March 2013 to 500 at 31 March 2014.  Single and older person households dominate the waiting list.
  • The number of homeless applicants awarded full duty status decreased from 251 in 2012/13 to 216 in 2013/14.  
  • 213 Housing Executive homes were allocated to waiting list applicants.
  • Carried out planned maintenance including new heating systems for 57 homes and outside improvements for 228 homes, smoke alarms in 272 homes and frost stats in 116 homes.
  • A total of 22 new homes were completed and 12 homes on site.
  • Funded 23 supported housing accommodation based schemes.
  • Through Warm Homes 134 private sector homes were insulated, 12 had heating installed, a further 15 had both insulation and heating installed.
  • Through DSD’s Boiler replacement scheme, part financed by the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, 162 new boilers have been replaced in owner occupied homes.
Northern Ireland context
Housing Executive policies and plans are developed in the context of DSD’s Housing Strategy 2012-17 and the Programme for Government 2011-2015. Our expenditure is bound by the Comprehensive Spending Review 2010 which enables us to continue to make a considerable investment in housing each year.  
  • Funding of £116.5 million is available for the social housing development programme to enable delivery of 2,000 new social housing starts, a crucial part of our spending plans with over 39,000 applicants on the waiting list. In 2013/14 we facilitated the completion of 1,967 new homes and started a further 1,299 through the social development programme.  
  • Funding for major adaptations to help people with a disability is £6.8 million with an additional £2.6 million for the 2014/15 capital improvement programme.  
  • Expenditure for private sector grants is approximately £13.75 million, with an additional £20.5 million available for energy efficiency measures.
  • The Supporting People budget of £72.38 million currently funds 99 providers to deliver housing related support through 882 schemes to approximately 19,000 vulnerable people.
  • Funding for our 2014/15 maintenance programme is £155.6 million.  During 2013 we carried out external maintenance to 6,441 Housing Executive homes, replaced 2,482 kitchens, installed new heating in 5,721homes, and double glazing in 3,673 homes.