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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Keeping our members up-to-date at the Housing Advice Practitioners Forum

Helping to keep our members up-to-date with the latest information on housing legislation, policy and practice is an important part of the work of Housing Rights and a key function of the Policy and Practice Team. One way in which we do this is through the Housing Advice Practitioners’ Forum. All member organisations are invited to the Forum and, as it is a benefit of membership, it is free to attend.

Forum meetings will include a topical presentation from an outside body, followed by updates on what is happening in housing including the latest legislation and case law. The Forum also provides an opportunity for member organisations to raise their own clients’ housing queries with Housing Rights’ specialist advisers.

Learn more about the private rented review at the next Forum

Our next Forum on 7th February will be focusing on the review of the role and regulation of the private rented sector. The Department for Communities recently launched its proposals for improving the private rented sector. With 1 in 5 people now living in the sector it is continuing to grow as the main housing option for many people. Advisers are increasingly having to assist clients in housing need to access private rented accommodation.

Representatives from the Department for Communities will at the Forum on 7th February to take members through the proposals and to answer any questions. The meeting will be an ideal opportunity to increase your knowledge of the plans for the future of the sector and to help inform members with their own consultation responses.

If you are a member of Housing Rights and would like to attend upcoming Forum just contact our Policy and Practitioner Support Officer, Sharon Geary.

Homelessness strategy at the last Housing Advice Practitioners Forum

At the last forum on 10 January, Maureen Kerr from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive briefed members on the NIHE’s homelessness strategy ‘Ending Homelessness Together’. The consultation is particularly important to people working with those who are homeless and was well attended by advice agencies, hostel providers, housing associations, local councils and the legal profession. Members had the opportunity to put any queries and questions to the Housing Executive about the Strategy.

Aims of the Housing Advice Practitioners Forum

  • To bring together appropriate frontline housing advice practitioners to meet and discuss the latest developments in housing law, policy and practice associated with their day to day work.
  • To enhance the skills and knowledge of housing in Northern Ireland and the impact on their client group.
  • To enable appropriate frontline housing advice practitioners the opportunity to bring local housing issues to the attention of Housing Rights.
  • To facilitate the effective communication of policy, knowledge, information and good practice on housing.

Benefits of the Housing Advice Practitioners Forum

  • An opportunity for shared learning.
  • The chance to discuss local practice.
  • The opportunity to develop networking relationships with other housing advice practitioners.
  • The opportunity to share work experiences and tips for improvement.
  • The chance to improve communication between agencies.
  • The opportunity to be briefed by external organisations on particular topics of interest.
  • The opportunity to raise housing issues, arising from their own agencies, which have the potential of being carried forward as policy issues. 

If you are a member of Housing Rights and would like to attend upcoming Forum just contact our Policy and Practitioner Support Officer, Sharon Geary.

To find out about becoming a member, contact Frances.


Sharon Geary

This article was written on 19 January 2017. 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.