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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Key Inequalities in Housing and Communities in Northern Ireland

On the 20th June 2017, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland published their “Statement on Key Inequalities in Housing and Communities in Northern Ireland”. The Statement illustrates that the provision of housing in NI faces new, existing and persistent challenges. While Commission in their Statement identify a number of differences and wider inequalities, they highlight seven specific areas where they consider key inequalities persist.

7 Key Inequalities in Housing and Communities in NI

Longer waiting times for Catholic applicants for social housing

An examination of NIHE’s waiting list time data for social housing for the period 2004 to 2009 and for 2013/14 shows that Catholic household reference applicants experienced the longest median waiting times for social housing at the point of allocation in NI as a whole.

Access to appropriate accommodation for Irish Travellers is limited

Whilst NIHE Traveller Needs Assessment (2015) identified three council areas in 2014 that presented the most need for Traveller accommodation, the planning data supplied by the NIHE shows that, of the eight applications lodged between 2007 and 2015, none were in two (the Belfast or Dungannon council areas) of the three areas of identified need. A total of six of the eight applications (75%) were however in one of the areas of most need - the Craigavon area

The homes of minority ethnic and migrant groups may be vulnerable to racial attacks

NI Police Recorded Crime Statistics (2014) show that while the number of ‘criminal damage to a dwelling crimes’ that had a racist motivation experienced a year on year decrease between 2008/09 and 2012/13, the most recent data (from 2013/14 to 2015/16) showed an increased number of incidences of criminal damage compared to 2012/13.

Susceptibility of migrant workers to tied accommodation with poor conditions

In 2011, Allamby et al. reported that for migrant workers in Northern Ireland, ‘work and accommodation are often linked, [where] many cannot leave their job as this would also render them homeless, creating a vicious circle of working long hours and living in poor conditions’. This accommodation can also be expensive, overcrowded, excessively controlled by landlords, and unsuitable for children.

Limits on the opportunity for people with a learning disability to live independently

The Bamford Review (2007) found that whilst the resettlement of people with learning disabilities and mental health problems away from hospital settings and into the community had taken place many people were resettled in similar institutional shared settings. In 2016, the Department for Social Development advised that the resettlement programme was still ongoing but nearing completion. As of March 2017, the Commission has been unable to confirm if the resettlement programme has completed.

People with disabilities living in homes inadequate for their disability-related needs

NI Survey of Activity Limitation and Disability (NISALD), conducted in 2006/07, found that nearly a fifth of those respondents who did not have modifications or adaptations to their homes did have a requirement for modifications or adaptations. The ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards do not apply to the private sector. Further, specific wheelchair standards have been called for as existing standards are not considered adequate.

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people who can feel harassed and unsafe in their homes and neighbourhoods

Research suggests that a fifth of homophobic incidents occur in the LGB person’s home; and that nearly a quarter of incidents involved a perpetrator who was a neighbour or lived locally.

Housing Rights welcome any efforts that are made to address these inequalities in housing and which help ensure that everyone has access to a home which is suitable, safe and sustainable.


Tagged In

Minority Groups, Research, Equality

This article was written on 4 July 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.