South Belfast MLA Anna Lo said: “I welcome the plans outlined by Minister Margaret Ritchie, as there is a real and urgent need to create more integrated housing. If Northern Ireland is to grow both socially and economically we need to create a shared society. Building more integrated housing is an integral part of this transition towards a shared future.
The lack of affordable housing has also become a major problem in Northern Ireland. These plans will hopefully ensure that more first time buyers and people on low incomes can afford to own the roof over their heads.
“Currently the Northern Ireland housing market is really only open to property investors, those on high incomes and those who already own a house. Anyone else that wants to get onto the property ladder finds is nearly impossible to do so.
“I am also pleased that the Minister plans to build more social housing because there are severe shortages in many areas at the moment. Her plans also address the housing problems in the Village area of Belfast and action on this matter is long overdue.
“It’s great to see a Minister from this Executive who actually provides coherent plans and has the courtesy to outline those plans in the Assembly. However, we need to hear more detail on her plans to assess them fully.
“This is a welcome first step towards a shared future, but much more work must be done across all aspects of our society, and it is up to the Executive to start working.”