‘Any initiative which helps homeless people, even temporarily, should be welcomed but the Stormont Executive has a responsibility to deliver affordable, publicly owned housing and it should not be let off the hook’ Workers Party representative Gemma Weir has said.
Gemma was responding to news that the charity Extern is to buy a number of houses in north and west Belfast to help homeless people over a two year period.
‘The charity and voluntary sectors make a welcome and telling contribution to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people’, she said ‘but there are serious problems in relation to the provision of public housing and levels of homelessness have remained at historically high levels in Northern Ireland since 2005/6′.
It is already a matter of public shame that in a period of a few weeks earlier this year four people in Northern Ireland lost their lives sleeping on the streets.
‘Over the years the Executive has overseen the gradual privatisation of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The NIHE must be maintained as the primary public housing body in Northern Ireland for both the provision of new homes and as landlord of public sector tenants. Our homelessness crisis cannot be properly addressed without the reinstatement of the NI Housing Executive as the lead housing agency’, Gemma concluded.
Read Gemma’s comments in full at: