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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Adviser

One of the most welcome local interventions to assist private renters who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the Housing Executive’s commitment to use the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme to restore vital welfare protections missing from Universal Credit.  Our advisers have been helping people to claim this assistance, but have come across a few incidences where the claimant isn’t

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Coronavirus, Private Tenancies, Affordability, Adviser

One of our advisers recently had a very positive outcome for a client who was looking forward to starting her new tenancy but quickly came up against a problem. 

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Money Matters, Affordability, Adviser

When Universal Credit was introduced, our advisers worried that well-established principles covering complex areas of housing benefit law would not be ported across to the new regime. One particular area of concern was the provisions which allow a claim for assistance with housing costs to be disallowed where the decision maker suspects that the claim has been contrived in order to take advantage of the benefits system.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser

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

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
Picture of Housing Champions at CIH Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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