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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

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The “digital by default” nature of Universal Credit is supposed to make it easier for people to notify the Department of changes in circumstances which will affect their claims. Most people will find it pretty easy to notify Universal Credit of a rent increase. It’s simply a matter of logging in and making an adjustment to the housing costs section of their account. However, it’s not such a simple process for people in custody who do not have access to the internet.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Adviser
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Mitigation payments have really helped the people of Northern Ireland to deal with the financial stresses created by welfare reforms like the bedroom tax. These mitigations are shortly due to end, something that will cause pain and hardship for many. However, mitigation payments can and have been lost. Victoria, one of our advisers recently assisted a client facing eviction due to the loss of his mitigation payment.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Adviser
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At Housing Rights, we are particularly proud of our Housing Champions, a group of volunteers from minority communities in Northern Ireland who help people within those communities by providing housing advice and interpreting services. The Housing Champions project was recently Highly Commended in the Chartered Institute of Housing NI Housing Awards.

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Benefits, Minority Groups, Practical tips, Adviser
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The clock is ticking on the NI welfare reform mitigations package. So far, the devastating impacts of the bedroom tax have not been felt in Northern Ireland to the same extent as they have elsewhere. But, this may mean that certain people are subject to this tax who should not be.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Welfare Reform, Adviser
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Leanne, a recently separated mother of three, contacted Housing Rights for help in January of this year. Leanne had been renting a private tenancy, but was asked to leave this property when the fixed term ended. At that point, she had approached the Housing Executive for help as a homeless person in priority need, and NIHE placed her in a single let while they investigated her circumstances to see if she passed all four tests for homelessness.

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Homelessness, Adviser
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Many of the cases we feature on our website are the result of long investigations and complex work carried out by our casework team. But, we regularly turn around positive outcomes much more quickly for people who contact our daily housing helpline. In a recent example, Victoria used her knowledge of housing and consumer law to prevent homelessness for a young single mum who had been given notice to quit by her landlord.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser
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Our Housing Advice in Prisons services helps people in Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank who are newly committed and those who are preparing for release to deal with their housing issues. One of the major issues that housing advisers who work in this service face at the moment is the way in which Universal Credit deals with the housing costs of prisoners.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Adviser

Last year, our adviser Karen assisted Thomas, who had been given incorrect information about migrating to Universal Credit and was struggling to afford his rent as a result.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Adviser

As social housing becomes more difficult to access, many people who may traditionally have found a home in this sector are turning to the private rented sector for a home. However, some people face barriers in accessing this type of accommodation, not just through affordability pressures, but also due to their age. Our adviser talks through a case where she advocated on behalf of a young woman to enable her to take on a tenancy, despite not yet being 18.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser

One of our prison housing advisers recently helped a vulnerable client secure suitable accommodation on her release from prison.

Jenny was in prison following an arson offence on her previous home. Before this she had lived a relatively settled life.  She did have one other previous conviction prior to the arson offence but following the death of her husband her mental health had deteriorated, culminating in her trying to set fire to her home.

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Social Tenancies, Adviser

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