Housing association merger comes with plans to build 2,500 homes

The largest housing association in Northern Ireland has been formed with the merger of OakleeTrinity and Ulidia Housing Associations.

The newly created housing association is to be called Choice, and it has already been confirmed that £340million has been earmarked for the building of 2,500 new houses in Northern Ireland over the next 5 years, as well as improvements to existing homes and the purchase of properties from other housing associations. The building work that Choice will undertake is expected to create 700 construction jobs and 500 others in the supply chain. It will be funded by a mixture of private finance and government grants.

The two housing associations together have 10,000 properties on their books, and chairman of Choice, Timothy Quinn, assured that existing tenants stand to benefit from the merger, with a significant sum of money going to improvements. Mr Quinn says that "people should get more from housing associations and we’re ready and best-equipped to lead the way.” He added that Choice, as a social enterprise, wants to perform "better for the communities we serve with more than just housing."