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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Housing leaders call upon government to deliver on its NDNA commitment to prioritise housing

Four leading housing organisations, including Housing Rights,  have approached the joint heads of government to discuss the housing crisis in Northern Ireland and relay sectoral concerns regarding the absence of a specific housing outcome in the draft Programme for Government.

On behalf of the sector, Housing Rights, Council for the Homeless, Chartered Institute for Housing and Northern Ireland Federation for Housing Associations, have collectively requested a meeting with the first and deputy first minister to convey their disappointment that housing has been left out of the draft outcomes framework despite commitments made in the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal for its inclusion. The NDNA deal committed a restored executive to a number of priorities which included housing, stating that “the Programme for Government outcomes framework will be augmented with a new outcome and indicators to provide specific focus on ensuring every household has access to a good quality, affordable and sustainable home that is appropriate for its needs.” 

The organisations believe a specific housing outcome is imperative to ensure housing and homelessness are given the priority they urgently need. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, this society was facing major issues in these areas. The pandemic has exacerbated an already very difficult situation. Without a specific housing outcome, there is a risk of housing and homelessness once again falling down the list of priorities for the Executive.

Housing Rights, Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland, Chartered Institute of Housing and the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations have called on Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill to revise this decision as matter of urgency.

Janet Hunter, Housing Rights director stated:

“As leaders of organisations with significant memberships including housing associations, homeless service providers, advice agencies and housing professionals it remains our strong belief that housing must be included as an outcome in the final PfG framework. Housing and homelessness need to be a high priority for the Executive and a specific housing outcome would show this to be the case.”

Nicola McCrudden, CHNI chief executive commented:

“Homelessness levels are unacceptably high and will rise as a direct consequence of the social and economic fallout from the pandemic. Housing need is growing. There are many families and individuals living in unsafe, unsuitable and unsecure accommodation. We need a specific housing outcome so the Executive can be held to account for its action in terms of housing and homelessness.”

Justin Cartwright, CIH Northern Ireland director added:

“The statement by the Department for Communities Minister to reform and revitalise the Housing Executive in November underlines the importance of good quality, affordable housing to our society. It is our view that this be reflected in the outcomes framework within the PfG.”

Ben Collins, chief executive of NIFHA said:

“Having good quality, affordable and sustainable housing appropriate to needs is, we believe, a significant priority for the people of Northern Ireland and should be a PfG outcome."

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Policy, NI Assembly
This article was written on 3 March 2021. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.