The Northern Ireland Assembly election is due to take place on Thursday May 5. In the run-up to the election, political parties putting forward candidates will be publishing their manifestos.
A manifesto is a document which sets out what policies a political party will seek to implement if their candidates are elected. We at Homeless Connect, working with our members, developed a manifesto which sets out ten policies we believe would make a real difference in preventing and reducing homelessness here.
As each party publishes their manifesto, we will be profiling their commitments in the areas our manifesto covers.
On 25 April, Sinn Fein launched their election manifesto. Some sections of note include the following:
Working together in the Executive (p7)
“Sinn Féin will work to immediately form a new Executive and to:
- Deliver over 100,000 homes over the next 15 years”
“Sinn Féin’s housing plan is the biggest shakeup of the housing system for over 50 years and will deliver over 100,000 homes over the next 15 years in urban and rural communities across the north.
People are entitled to homes that are good quality, safe, secure, comfortable, and affordable.
We will target areas where housing need is the greatest so that people who have been failed by the provision in housing for decades have the opportunity to live in their communities. Sinn Féin is also committed to increasing the number of social homes in rural communities.
The challenges that exist in the provision of rural housing including difficulties in demonstrating need and the lack of wastewater and sewage infrastructure must be addressed.
Sinn Féin will also protect private renters from poor quality, sub-standard housing and unfair rent increases. Sinn Féin Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey has introduced legislation to protect private renters from unfair eviction notice periods; to limit the amount a landlord can charge for a deposit to no more than one month’s rent; and to improve the safety of homes.
We want to build on these improvements with further legislation to protect private renters from unfair rents, improve housing standards and end unfair letting fees.
Homelessness must also be tackled. Preventing and addressing homelessness will take a considerable effort across departments and sectors. While the solutions are wider than housing alone, building more homes is a huge part of the solution.
Sinn Féin’s priorities in housing are:
- Deliver over 100,000 homes over 15 years
- Revitalise the Housing Executive so it can start building houses again
- Ensure social rents remain fair and the lowest social rents on these islands
- Introduce further legislation protecting private renters through improved housing standards
- Ban unfair letting fees
- Introduce regulations to deliver fair rents including reducing or freezing rents.”