209 Dungannon council houses sold off in spite of housing shortage

Council homes
Council homes

AT a time when there are hundreds of local families desperate for a roof over their heads, it has emerged that the Housing Executive has sold off a total of 209 Dungannon properties since 2005.

Dungannon’s housing waiting list has been rising sharply since the economic downturn began, and now totals 1020 families.

With a rapidly rising population and fewer homes being built, there appears to be no end in sight for the 638 local households stuck in housing stress.

Under the right to buy scheme, which was first launched in the 1980s to assist more families into home ownership, council houses are sold to tenants at a significant discount.

The scheme has been suspended in parts of the UK where there are increased pressures on the social housing stock.

The number of houses sold in the Dungannon area in the past year has more than doubled from five in 2013 to twelve so far in 2014.

The bulk of the local properties were sold at the height of the property boom, a total of 154 from 2005 to 2008.

Sinn Fein Councillor Dominic Molloy said he had major concerns about the homeless problem.

“Figures from LPS six months ago show that there are over 1500 vacant properties in the Borough. Yet we still hear from Housing associations of the need to build new properties, some of which have been at the expense of town centre retail property.

“I would dearly like to see some joined up thinking on bringing vacant housing back into use for those most in need. This is something that in recent meetings with housing providers I have highlighted as urgent.”