The Housing Executive has earmarked £17.65 million for investing in homes and projects across the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council areas over the next year.
The money will be spent on upgrading and maintaining properties, supporting people to live independently, increasing energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.
Plans for the investment were outlined during the Housing Executive’s first official meeting with the new Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The Executive says it will be making a significant investment during 2015/16 in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon and will support the delivery of new homes.
Through its landlord and regional services last year the Housing Executive invested £21.5m in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.
During the meeting the Housing Executive highlighted many of the achievements the organisation has made throughout Northern Ireland in the past year.
Across Northern Ireland, the Housing Executive 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 Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Comghal McQuillan, the Housing Executive’s South Regional Manager, 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 the Housing Executive and this year in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area the organisation will spend nearly £9.7 million on planned and response maintenance to its homes.
This will include the installation of double glazing in 1,241, outside maintenance work to 1,088 homes, new heating in 539 homes, homes and kitchens for 180 homes.
In the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area the Housing Executive will also support those tenants who need help to live independently in their homes through the provision of adaptations. Last year it spent £345,000 on both major and minor works helping people live more comfortably in their homes.
During 2015/18, in partnership with housing associations, 205 new homes are planned for starting in 15 schemes.
The Housing Executive endeavours to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme. In 2015/16 it will invest £5.2m for housing support services. It currently funds 66 sheltered and supported housing schemes in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council as well as five ‘floating’ support services.
The Housing Executive 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 116 disabled facilities grants and a small number of repair, discretionary grants and renovation grants with a value of nearly £1.3m.
The Housing Executive also supported improvement and repairs in the private sector through the provision of nearly £1.3m in grant aid and energy efficiency initiatives in the private sector through the Affordable Warmth scheme and the Boiler Replacement scheme.
After the presentation Denise McNally, the Area Manager, commented: “Our teams in Armagh City, Banbridge, Lurgan and Portadown provide a high quality dedicated housing service to the 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.
“Last year we made a substantial financial investment in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough 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 Borough 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.”
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