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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Housing Rights respond to consultation on NIHE Rural Policy Proposals

Housing Rights has recently responded to a Housing Executive consultation on their draft Rural Policy Proposals.

We welcome the Executive’s ongoing acknowledgement of the need for specific policies on rural housing, and support the overarching vision of the proposals: ‘Housing Services working in partnership to enable and support vibrant, shared and sustainable rural communities and provide economic, social and environmental benefits in rural areas.’ 

Value of engaging with Housing Rights’ Community Housing Advice Partnership (‘CHAP’)

CHAP, a partnership between Housing Rights and front-line advice centres across Northern Ireland, is a valuable tool for offering advice and support to vulnerable households. It has developed a useful knowledge base of housing issues and demand in rural areas. The Housing Executive should consider engaging with CHAP in the monitoring of these policy proposals.

Statistical monitoring & welfare reform

Housing Rights, and CHAP, will be using our statistical recording systems to monitor the impact of welfare refrom changes on people accessing our services. we encourage the Executive to pro-actively build upon relevant learning from Welfare Reform in Great Britain, as well as monitoring NI impacts, with a view to preventing any unnecessary negative impacts of the welfare reforms.

Housing Options for rural customers

Housing Rights supports the ‘Housing Options’ model of sustaining tenancies and informed tenants as the most appropriate mechanism for preventing homelessness. We welcome the Executive’s commitment to increase the capacity of their operational staff in this regard, by sourcing relevant training and support in this area.

Supply of affordable housing

Housing Rights welcome the Executive’s commitment to develop delivery models for mixed-tenure housing. However, it is vital that any such developments are legitimately “affordable” to those in need of housing; affordability should therefore be defined in relation to an agreed definition of local household income.

Housing Rights would welcome further discussion with the Housing Executive about how we can assist in the delivery of these aspects of the Rural Housing Policy Proposals through the Community Housing Advice Partnership, monitoring and the provision of training.

You can view our response in full.

Find out more about the draft rural housing policy proposals.

Tagged In

Minority Groups, Policy, Equality, Affordability

This article was written on 16 March 2016. 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.