Northern Ireland publishes first housing strategy

Inside Housing reports: Ministers in Northern Ireland have launched plans for a £19 million interest-free loan scheme for housing associations in a bid to boost house building.

Inside Housing reports:

Ministers in Northern Ireland have launched plans for a £19 million interest-free loan scheme for housing associations in a bid to boost house building.

The loan fund would be used to help housing associations build shared ownership properties and fund a new empty homes initiative to bring properties back into use.

Social development minister Nelson McCausland said the plans meant 'facing the realities of economic recovery'. Jim Dennison, director of the Chartered Institute of Housing in Northern Ireland, said he wanted to see details on the minister's suggestions. 'The department appears to be open to looking at different options, but we have to know if they are appropriate options,' he added.

Paddy Gray, professor of housing at the University of Ulster, said the strategy was long overdue. 'People feel positive that there's a recognition of a need for housing action in a number of areas.'We really need to have a focus on our present and future tenants and we need to increase private investment as well,' he added.