Social housing sector worth £1 billion per year

L-R: Jon Lord OBE, chair, Greater Manchester Housing Providers, Dr John McPeake, chair, NIFHA, and Prof Peter Roberts, chair, NI Housing Executive
Ryan McAleer

THE social housing sector is worth £1 billion a year to the north's economy, a new report states.

The ‘Benefits to Society' study has been produced by the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) and has the backing by more than 20 organisations across the sector.

Social or affordable housing currently accounts for one-in-six of all homes in the north, with around 1,700 new buildings each year. Around 6,000 people are employed across the 20 assoicaitons and the Housing Executive.

NIFHA chair John McPeake said the sector wants to make a great contribution.

“As well as providing more than 130,000 homes, we provide care and support services, employ more than 6,000 people, and build more than 1,700 homes every year, which supports the construction sector and adds more than £1billion to the local economy,” he said.

“But the social housing sector has ambition and capacity to do so much more. While Benefits to Society NI sets out the success of the social housing sector, it also highlights some key areas where policy changes could allow housing associations to bring increased social and economic benefit.

“This would include moving the social housing development programme from a one year programme to multi year, which would allow more flexibility and help achieve more new builds.

“Investment in social housing new build is bringing a return of £2.84 for every £1 invested, which is making public funds go further as well as providing much needed housing across Northern Ireland. The success of the social housing sector is clear but it has not always been recognised, and now is the time to build on that success.”

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