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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

New first citizen of Belfast shows her support for a vision where everyone has a home

Belfast’s new Lord Mayor has joined local charity Housing Rights Service (HRS) as they celebrate 50 years of service by launching a vision of a Northern Ireland where everyone has a home.  

The charity, which was established in Belfast in 1964, works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems.  It operates a daily advice service across Northern Ireland to help people get to grips with their housing problems.  Last year HRS helped people deal with over 40,000 housing problems. That represents an increase of nearly 400% compared to the previous decade.

Grainne Walsh, Housing Rights Service Chairperson commented: “Our work is just as vital now as it was when we started in 1964.   Whether it’s being able to find suitable housing, getting repairs done, or not being able to afford the mortgage or rent, many people are struggling with housing problems. Demand for our service is at an all time high and we don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon”

The environment Housing Rights Service operates in is challenging.   In 2012/2013 over 19,000 local households presented as homeless to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and over 41,000 people were on the waiting list for social housing.  Levels of repossession here remain high and three quarters of mortgages taken out since 2005 are in negative equity.  

Ms Walsh continued: ”Undoubtedly the nature of the housing problems we deal with have changed in the last 50 years.  What hasn’t changed is how challenging those issues are for the people facing them.  We are asking the public to help us realise our vision by showing their support for a Northern Ireland where everyone has a home. This is not something that will happen overnight but every signature can make a difference. ”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon said: “The Housing Rights Service carries out magnificent work in Belfast and further afield. I am delighted to lend my support to a vision where everyone has a home. It is important that we all recognise such social issues as housing and homelessness and play a part in combating them in the future.”

You can sign up to Housing Rights Service vision or find out about our history

People experiencing homelessness or housing problems can contact Housing Rights Service on 90245640 for free independent advice.