This has been an unprecedented year for the Housing Executive with the COVID-19 outbreak making it necessary for us to make changes to the way services were delivered to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
Lockdown measures put in place by the Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic meant the suspension of all but emergency and statutory maintenance activities in March 2020. The Housing Executive had planned to invest £227 million across all improvement and maintenance activities in its stock in 2020/21; there remain, however, ongoing uncertainties on the type and level of stock investment that can be delivered this year.
You can download:
The Mid and East Antrim Housing Investment Plan Annual Update 2020 (PDF 6MB)
Our 2020 Update document (490KB)
During 2019/20, the Housing Executive delivered significant housing investment for a wide range of services, and the public sector housing investment totalled £20.26m for Mid and East Antrim. This includes grant aid to housing associations for the building and rental of new houses.
The Housing Executive gave a presentation on its Housing Investment Plan (HIP) to local Councillors, during which it highlighted many of the organisation’s achievements made over the past year.
The Housing Executive channelled almost £73m into services to help the most vulnerable through its Supporting People Programme and a further £12.6m though it’s Homelessness Programme.
In addition, there was a large planned maintenance programme, with work undertaken at 17,147 homes; a direct investment of £77.7m to these homes.
There were 320,523 response maintenance repairs carried out at a budgetary cost of £52.7m in 2019/20.
Homeowners and private landlords also received considerable support, with £15.61m spent through home improvement grants and £13.7m in tackling fuel poverty through the Affordable Warmth and Boiler Replacement Schemes.
Speaking at the presentation to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Catherine McFarland, the Housing Executive’s Director of Finance, Audit and Assurance, said:
“2020 has been an unprecedented year for everyone. The Housing Executive has followed government advice on the management of the coronavirus outbreak and we have made changes in the way we deliver our services. These changes are intended to protect our staff and customers while ensuring that we continue to provide key essential services.”
“Our Housing Investment Plan is developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole Northern Ireland housing sector and is informed by a range of stakeholders.
“We value the great working relationship with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and will continue to engage on housing issues in the Borough.”
“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. While we are still unsure what our programmes will look like over the coming year, we continue to deliver services to our customers and make plans to commence all work.”
“There remains a lot of work to be done to meet housing need, to improve housing stock and to provide support for the most vulnerable in our community, and we will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered.”
Maintaining its housing stock is a priority for the Housing Executive. Lockdown measures put in place by the Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic however saw the suspension of all but emergency and statutory maintenance activities in March 2020. From June 2020, works recommenced to external areas and vacant properties, but there remains uncertainty on the type and level of stock investment that can be delivered this year. Stakeholders will be updated as the situation progresses.
During 2019/20, in partnership with housing associations, 181 new homes were built throughout the borough.
The Housing Executive endeavours to support the most vulnerable members of society through its Supporting People Programme. In 2019/20, the Housing Executive invested £4.90m for housing support services. £4.99m has been approved for 2020/21.
The Housing Executive currently funds 69 accommodation based services for 1,163 service users in the Mid and East Antrim area as well as four floating support services for 653 service users.
The Housing Executive 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, it approved 84 disabled facilities grants and a number of repair and renovation grants totalling £870,000.
A summary document outlining the work of the Housing Executive during the global pandemic was also provided, it outlines the challenges we have faced and our response to those challenges.
Speaking at the Presentation, the Housing Executive’s North Regional Manager, Frank O’Connor, said:
“Our Mid and East Antrim teams continue to provide a high quality, dedicated housing service to the area, which has been even more difficult during the lockdown period.”
“Working alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams, we strive to continue to 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.”
“My thanks are extended to the Councillors and Officers of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for their support for the Housing Executive - we look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest, over the coming year.”