Housing boost of £3.68million

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The Housing Executive is to invest £3.68million in upgrading and maintaining tenants’ homes in the Carrick area over the coming year.

The figure was outlined during a presentation from the housing body to members of the local authority on Monday evening.

Referring to the District Housing Plan for the Carrickfergus Borough Council area, North Regional Manager Frank O’ Connor said: “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.”

The Housing Executive currently funds fund 23 sheltered and supported housing schemes in the Carrickfergus borough, Mr O’Connor said.

“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,” he added.

The report outlined that the housing waiting list for the borough has decreased from 559 applicants in housing stress at March 31, 2013 to 500 at March, 31 2014, with single and older person households dominating the list.

The number of homeless applicants awarded full duty status decreased from 251 in 2012/13 to 216 in 2013/14.

Some 213 Housing Executive homes were allocated to waiting list applicants.

However, the housing body’s allocation system was queried by Alderman Jim Brown. “My understanding is that the housing waiting list is composed of people who choose to live in Carrickfergus, but the allocations are dealt with in a Northern Ireland wide context,” he said.

“The system needs to be changed to reflect local need.”

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