Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Claire Sugden has welcomed a commitment that the Ministers for Communities and Infrastructure will work closer together to resolve the housing crisis.

MLA Sugden said that the need for housing has “never been greater” after it was reported that there were 46,000 households on the waiting list for social housing.

Minister for Communities, Gordon Lyons and Minister for Infrastructure, John O’Dowd, have committed to resolving issues that limit how many houses can be built, such as wastewater limits.

The MLA said that in areas where systems such as sewers and drains cannot take any more wastewater, work must be done to increase capacity space.

“It has been clear for some time that many areas throughout Northern Ireland cannot build more houses, or any infrastructure, because the wastewater system is at its limit.

“This means we cannot build houses for the many that cannot find a place to live, or build new shops, factories or other businesses, she added.

The MLA urged that these issues need to be resolved and that departments should work together where their responsibilities cross over.

Minister Lyons said that he is currently working to finalise the strategy with the “intention” of bringing it to the executive “as soon as possible”.

Housing crisis

Last month, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) CEO, Seamus Leheny, told the NI Assembly Communities Committee, that every year more people join the housing waiting list.

He added that a broad range of challenges remain when it comes to building more homes, such as reduced social housing budgets, delays in planning, waste water connections and many others.

“To avoid stagnation, quick direct action is required to address housing budgets, increase NI executive investment in new builds and ensure that the unnecessary obstacles to increasing housing are removed,” Leheny said.