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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

December 2019

From 1 January 2019 new claimants of Universal Credit will have access to a contingency fund without having to first apply for an advance payment. 

The contingency fund was set up to assist those who had moved to Universal Credit, following explicit recommendations in the Evason Report for a fund "...to make emergency payments where hardship occurs as a result difficulties which are not due to any fault on the part of the claimant." 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Housing Rights has updated its Professional Resource on the rights of migrant communities living in Northern Ireland to access housing, homelessness assistance and help with housing costs. It has been fully updated to include information on the EU Settlement Scheme and on how the rights of EEA nationals will change once the UK leaves the European Union. 

Housing Rights of migrants after Brexit

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Brexit, Minority Groups, Practical tips

Housing Rights attended and chaired an event on 6 December as part of Causeway Homeless Awareness Week 2019. The event was organised by the Housing Executive and held at the Vineyard Centre in Coleraine.

The annual Homeless Awareness Week offers an opportunity to both dispel myths around homelessness and to celebrate and learn from the work being done within the sector.

At the event a number of engaging presentations were delivered by speakers on subjects such as 

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Homelessness

In the last two months, Housing Rights has seen a real spike in calls from private tenants who have been asked to leave their rented homes. It appears that an unintended consequence of the new Houses in Multiple Occupation regime is the attempted eviction of tenants who have legally binding tenancy agreements. 

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Private Tenancies

Confusion surrounding the impacts of Brexit has grown significantly in recent months. If you are a landlord, you may be worried about renting to foreign tenants once the UK has left the EU.

Luckily, there will be little change to the housing rights of European nationals who reside in the UK. Landlord Advice's video below goes through some issues and concerns landlords and letting agents may have when the UK leaves the EU.

 

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Brexit

New research commissioned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive focuses on the housing needs and aspirations of around half a million older people in NI. The findings showed that older people in NI want to have choice when it comes to their housing.

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Research

With the General Election due to take place on Thursday 12th December, we look at the main parties’ election manifestos and summarise the housing related commitments from each of these.

Alliance Party

The Alliance Party Election Manifesto 2019 “Demand Better”, sets out key commitments including:

Demand Better Work and Welfare

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Policy

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) released a report providing an update on the future welfare mitigation support measures that will be in place after March 2020, in line with the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019.

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Welfare Reform

Housing Rights is one of over 100 members of the Cliff Edge NI Coalition, who have come together to highlight their shared concerns about the potential ‘cliff edge’ of the end of the welfare reform mitigations in March 2020, and their fears about a range of new welfare challenges which have emerged since the original mitigations were introduced.

The Coalition’s briefing paper outlines our key messages:

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Welfare Reform

The Department for Communities has release the latest housing statistics for Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Housing Statistics is an annual compendium of statistics which provides information on a range of areas relating to housing.

Key findings from the survey include: 

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Research, Policy

A research report suggests that the private rented sector is most at risk as a consequence of Brexit, and that any downturn in the housing market is likely to be felt most in the border areas of Northern Ireland, particularly those areas with large numbers of migrants working in agri-food businesses.

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Brexit, Research