Empty houses to be postered

By Gemma Burns

The Irish Republican Socialist party (IRSP) has vowed to poster every empty house in North Belfast in a bid to highlight the number of homes sitting unoccupied despite housing need in the area being at crisis point.

Last month Finance Minister Sammy Wilson revealed that in North Belfast almost 2000 homes lie unoccupied. The minister said in the Duncairn area alone a total of 594 homes are lying empty.

In January the North Belfast News revealed that 2403 people are on the current Housing Executive waiting list, 966 of those on the list are Catholic, 454 people are Protestant and 983 are either described as another religion or religion undisclosed.

Paul Little from the IRSP said they will be putting posters on every derelict property in North Belfast to highlight the fact that the housing waiting list would be dramatically reduced if the empty homes were handed over to those on the list.

“The fact that there are close to 2000 empty properties while so many people are sitting on the waiting list is just a disgrace,” he said.

“There are people who have been on the waiting list for years who have no hope of getting rehoused while these properties just sit going to waste. This is an issue that needs to be highlighted by everyone.

“I know there is work going on to try and reduce the housing waiting list but more needs to be done. The solution is that there are good houses sitting empty while the waiting list grows.”

He said by rehousing people in the empty properties it will reduce the waiting list as well as improve the local communities.

“It will not only mean that the waiting list will go down but the neighbours of these derelict houses know that they attract antisocial behaviour,” he said,

“If they were handed over for people to live in it would stop kids gathering them and bring and end any antisocial behaviour. It is time this was brought to an end.”

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