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Newry, Mourne and Down plans announced

Published: Tue, 29 Sep 2015
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Newry, Mourne and Down District Council plans announced for the next four years.
HIPS cover
We recently met with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to outline its plans for the next four years and report on last year’s investment.
The meeting represents the housing body’s annual consultation with local government and is the first with the newly established councils. We presented a Housing Investment Plan (HIP) which replaced the District Housing Plan of previous years.
We are due to make a significant investment during 2015/16. It will support the delivery of new homes as well as invest £13.77 million upgrading and maintaining its properties, support people to live independently, increase the energy efficiency of homes and provide grant aid in the private sector. Through its landlord and regional services last year we invested £19.95 million in the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area.
During the meeting we highlighted many of the achievements the organisation has made throughout Northern Ireland in the past year.
Across Northern Ireland, we channelled some £200 million into services to help the most vulnerable which included £10 million on homelessness and £72 million through its Supporting People programme. This included delivering a large planned maintenance programme with work undertaken at 29,000 homes with a direct investment of £100 million in these homes.  
The private sector also received considerable support with £13.7 million spent through grants and £15.7 million in tackling fuel poverty.
Speaking at the presentation to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Trevor McCartney, our Director of Corporate Services said:
“The Housing Executive works hard to maintain a good working relationship with councils and it is important this continues. Our Housing Investment Plan has been informed by a range of stakeholders and was developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole housing sector in Northern Ireland.
“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland we have prepared this 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 2015-19.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done to meet housing need, improve housing stock and provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We at the Housing Executive will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently, effectively and judiciously.”
Maintaining its housing stock is a priority for us and this year in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area the organisation will spend over £5 million on planned and response maintenance to its homes. This will include the installation of double glazing in 511 homes, outside maintenance work to 371 homes, new heating in 278 homes and kitchens for 176 homes.
In the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area we will also support those tenants who need help to live independently in their homes through the provision of adaptations. Last year it spent £415k on both major and minor works helping people live more comfortably in their homes.
During 2015/16, in partnership with housing associations, 384 new homes are planned to be started in 30 schemes.
We endeavour to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme. In 2015/16 it will invest nearly £5.81 million for housing support services. We currently fund 59 sheltered and supported housing schemes in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as well as 7 floating support services.
We continues to contribute to the private sector through a variety of grants to help adapt homes to support people living in their own home for longer. Last year it approved 110 disabled facilities grants and a small number of repair, discretionary grants and renovation grants with a value of over £1.5m. We also supported improvement and repairs in the private sector through the provision of £1.46m in grant aid.
After the presentation Loma Wilson, the Area Manager for South Down, commented:
“Our teams in Downpatrick and Newry provide a high quality dedicated housing service to the Newry, Mourne and Down District 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.
“Last year we made a substantial financial investment in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council along with a contribution which cannot be measured in such terms but makes a significant impact on the local community.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the councillors and officers of the Council for their support to the Housing Executive. We look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest in the coming year.”