Action needed now for 2012 - the year of evictions

Tue, 03/01/2012 - 10:43 -- Editor

There have been calls for the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, to make clear how he intends to manage the current housing crisis as the fallout of growing jobs losses and as welfare cuts bite across the northwest.

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Councillor Tony Hassan said that he fears more and more people in private homes will face repossession in the coming year than at any time since the financial crisis began.

"There is not a day that goes past that people are losing jobs particularly in the retail sectors and in many occasions without any prior warning. The impact of this is that many people are simply not able to keep up mortgage payments or are falling behind with rent payments.

"On top of this I predict that we will also see a surge in problems around Housing Benefits when widespread changes to the benefits system comes into effect . I and many of the welfare rights groups in the city have been warning about this problem and yes 2012 could well be the year of evictions.

"The system is creaking at the seams in Derry and in other parts of the north social housing is already at crisis levels. If the Minister persists on his path of implementing the Tory welfare reforms this crisis is set to deepen significantly.

"I am calling on Nelson McCausland, as Minister for Social Development (DSD) to make a clear statement to the Assembly now as a matter of urgency on how he intends to manage the current housing crisis as the fallout of growing  jobs losses and as Tory welfare cuts bite.

 "As the minister with responsibility in both these sectors he must tell the Assembly how he intends to square this circle."