A £37 million social housing project will create 123 new homes in the New Lodge area of North Belfast.

The scheme will see an area redeveloped between Hillman Street and Stratheden Street – known locally as the 'Long Streets' – with dilapidated properties removed to make way for new and high quality homes.

The project, which was announced by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey on Friday morning, comes after years of community campaigning for better homes in the area.

Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted to announce this £37m regeneration project for Upper New Lodge Belfast. This scheme will deliver high quality, affordable and sustainable homes.

"We have been working in collaboration with the local community to see this much needed project delivered. The area will be massively redeveloped and will see 123 new homes being built. I meant it when I said we need to build homes where they are needed.

“The challenges in our housing system have been there for many years.

"That is why I am leading the biggest housing reform programme in over 50 years. I am driving forward to deliver housing options and solutions that our society needs, demands and deserves. 

"This £37 million investment in North Belfast is evidence that the transformation work will deliver for people, workers and their families"

North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín added: “I’m delighted that Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced a £37 million to build 123 new homes in the Upper New Lodge. 

“This will deliver high quality, social and affordable homes for families in North Belfast. 

“It will also see the regeneration of the area and run-down buildings being replaced by new, first-class homes. 

“Delivering more homes and transforming housing is a commitment for Sinn Féin and I am pleased that Minister Hargey continues to deliver on her promise to build homes where they are needed most. 

“I look forward to seeing work beginning on these homes and the first families getting their keys upon completion.”

SDLP North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon added: "Everyone in North Belfast knows the dire situation we are in with regards to housing. We have nearly 4,500 people on social housing waiting lists in this area and the demand is growing by the day. The lack of housing has had a huge impact on the local community, with many families struggling with overcrowding and others forced to leave the area they grew up in to find a home. 

“These 123 new homes will be warmly welcomed and will help many families find somewhere to live, but we need to see similar initiatives follow in the near future if we are truly going to get to grips with our housing crisis. North Belfast has been left behind for decades when it comes to housing and we need a proper funded strategy to reverse this.

“Housing is not just an issue for people in North Belfast, across the North people are struggling to find a home. People are grappling with ever rising rents while struggling to save enough for a deposit, an entire generation is being prevented from getting on the housing ladder.

"The SDLP has made addressing the housing crisis a key priority and will continue to press Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to increase the supply of social and affordable housing. Everyone has the right to a home they can call their own, but sadly that isn’t the case for far too many in the North at the minute.”