JUST over 1,500 people within Mid and East Antrim presented as homeless in 2017/18, according to the latest statistics.
Of the total 1,515 people presenting as homeless 997 applicants were awarded Full Duty Applicant status.
The figures were revealed in the Housing Executive's Housing Investment Plan Annual Update which was presented to a recent meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Community Planning Committee.
The plan outlines key housing issues for Mid and East Antrim including the need for 800 new social housing units over the next five years.
Other keys issues highlighted were an ageing population and increasing housing stress with 2,581 total applications, a 2% increase on last year and 1,607 (62%) in housing stress, a 3% increase on last year.
In addition, there were 477 social housing allocations in 2017/18 and 414 (gross) new social housing units programmed for 2018/21.
The meeting heard that the Housing Executive is due to make a significant investment in the Mid and East Antrim area, during 2018/19, to support the delivery of new homes.
A total of £18.29m will be invested in upgrading and maintaining properties, supporting people to live independently, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and providing grant aid in the private sector.
Through it's Landlord and Regional Services last year, the Housing Executive invested £37.61m in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area, including grant aid to Housing Associations for the building and rental of new homes.
Speaking at the presentation, Housing Executive North Regional Manager, Frank O’Connor said:
“Our Housing Investment Plan was informed by a range of stakeholders and developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole housing sector in Northern Ireland.
“The Housing Executive works hard to maintain a good working relationship with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and it is important this continues.
“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland, we have prepared this Housing Investment 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.
“Lots of work needs to be done to meet housing need, to improve housing stock and to provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently and effectively.”
He added: “Maintaining our housing stock is a priority, and this year we will spend £8.71m in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area, on planned and response maintenance to our homes.
“This will include outside maintenance work to 620 homes, heating insulation in 264 homes and double glazing in 61 homes. Next year, we plan to invest almost £0.98m on stock improvements and adaptations for persons with a disability.
“There will also be a significant investment in the replacement of flat roofs that are reaching the end of their useful life.
“During 2018-21, in partnership with housing associations, around 414 new homes are planned throughout the Borough.
“We endeavour to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme. In 2018/19, the Housing Executive will invest over £5.53m for housing support services. We currently funds 64 accommodation based services for 1,183 service users in the Mid and East Antrim, area as well as three floating support services for 925 service users.
“We continues to contribute to the private sector through a variety of grants to help adapt homes and to support people living in their own home, for longer.
“Last year, we approved 50 disabled facilities grants and 29 repair grants as well as a small number of home repair assistance, renovation and replacement grants totalling £617k.”
At the end of the Presentation, Mr O’Connor said: “Our Mid and East Antrim teams provide a high quality, dedicated housing service to the area.
“Working alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams, we provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.
“We are committed to investing in the Mid and East Antrim area, to improve the lives of people in our community.”
Mr O’Connor thanked councillors and officers for their support for the Housing Executive.