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Selection process is changed in wake of case

Concern over change in housing system

By Staff Reporter

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman says the Housing Executive’s suspension of part of the housing selection scheme will have serious consequences for the transfer of tenants from unsuitable accommodation to accommodation that is more suited to their needs.

West Belfast MLA Fra McCann was speaking after a High Court judgement that criticised the allocation of public housing by the St Matthew’s Housing Association in Short Strand.

A Belfast High Court judge found the allocation of some houses  was “not fair or equitable”.

The judge also accused a former Sinn Féin councillor, Joe O’Donnell, who is a board member at the association, of failing to declare a conflict of interest in the allocation of homes at the former Mountpottinger police station site. Now Fra McCann says the judgement will have serious consequences across the North for those with disabilities and those living in overcrowded conditions who have applied for a housing transfer.

“It will also trap many people in houses unsuited to their needs who have been trying to get moved, in some cases for years,” he said.

“This has come as a consequence of a judicial review last week in which a judge indicated that housing authorities should allocate houses to those at the top of the waiting list rather than those also awaiting a transfer.

“The Housing Executive has suspended the system of transferring people to properties more suited to their needs and people who have already been told they were moving and had properties allocated to them have had that allocation suspended and now face an uncertain future in properties which may be detrimental to their health.

“I intend writing to the Justice Minister and to the Attorney General about this decision that needs an urgent rethink and needs to be reversed.”

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