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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

April 2019

We were delighted to present our charity of the year PIPS with a donation towards their work when they visited our offices recently.
PIPS provides support to individuals who are considering, or who have at some point considered, ending their own lives. They also provide support to those families & friends who have been touched by suicide.

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Homelessness

The Work and Pensions Committee has recommended outlawing the practice of refusing to rent out property to people in receipt of benefits.

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Benefits, Legislation, Policy, Equality

Last week residents of apartments in Victoria Square were told to leave their homes due to safety concerns within the complex following serious structural issues uncovered earlier in the year.

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Private Tenancies
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
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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

Welfare reform continues to have a huge impact on the housing situation of low income households in Northern Ireland.  As well as advice agencies the public often approach their constituency offices for help and support with housing issues

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Benefits, Repossession, Practical tips, Welfare Reform

The Northern Ireland Affairs and Work and Pensions Committee have announced a joint inquiry into welfare policy in Northern Ireland. This inquiry will follow the passage of the NI Budget Act and the upcoming end of the welfare reform mitigation package in March 2020.

Focus of the enquiry

The inquiry will consider

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Welfare Reform, Policy

Three related reports published in March 2019 by Alma Economics and commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government along with the Department for Work and Pensions, seek to review the evidence on the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping and to provide options for modelling to understand future trends and to appraise policy.

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Research, Homelessness
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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

Advisers on our helpline are reporting an increase in calls about social housing tenants' right to buy their homes. This includes calls from lending institutions, who are also fielding multiple calls about the house sales scheme. It's likely that this buzz of activity has been spurred by speculation over the future of this scheme. 

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Social Tenancies
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A new system for licensing and managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) came into effect on 1 April 2019. The main changes are

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Regulation, Private Tenancies

As part of the Fresh Start Agreement, the Executive committed to a review of the welfare mitigation funding package in 2018/19.

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Benefits, Research, Welfare Reform