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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Policy & Research

Our policy work is based on the experiences of people who contact us for advice. We work on their behalf to secure positive changes to housing legislation, policy and practice in Northern Ireland. You can read more about what we are striving to achieve in the coming year by downloading our policy priorities.

Below, you will find copies of policy briefings, consultation responses and research papers that Housing Rights has produced recently.

Falling Behind: Local Housing Allowance research

Falling Behind: Exploring the gap between Local Housing Allowance and the availability of affordable private rented accommodation in Northern Ireland.

This research shows that renting privately in Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly unaffordable for people who rely on housing benefit to pay their rent. Almost 9 out of 10 of rental properties are out of reach for people receiving Housing Benefit with the research showing that as little as 12% of properties in the sector would have their rent fully covered by the amount of benefit available.


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Benefits, Regulation, Research, Welfare Reform, Policy, Homelessness, Equality, Affordability

Housing Rights response to Department for Communities consultation on a revised definition of "affordable housing"

Housing Rights has responded to the Department for Communities’ consultation on the Definition of Affordable Housing.

The Consultation paper was produced by the Department to inform engagement on proposals for an updated definition of ‘affordable housing’ for Northern Ireland, with the aim of producing a clear definition which can be applied consistently in legislation, policy, local plans and practice.

Housing Rights welcomes the Department’s decision to put forward initial thoughts whilst also calling for additional evidence and insight from stakeholders to assist in policy refinement in this area.


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Housing Rights responds to NIHE consultation on draft Chronic Homelessness Action Plan

Housing Rights strongly welcomes the development of an Action Plan specifically dedicated to Chronic Homelessness, which is the first of its kind in the UK. It is our view that this Action Plan could have the potential to become the ‘go-to’ document on how best to respond to chronic homelessness within the UK. Housing Rights was therefore pleased to contribute a number of suggestions which we hope will be of use to the NIHE when amending and refining the existing proposals.

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Written evidence from Housing Rights to the Joint Inquiry into Northern Ireland's welfare policy

Housing Rights has submitted written evidence to a Westminster Inquiry examining welfare policy in Northern Ireland. The Joint Inquiry by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee is specifically interested in the planned end of the welfare mitigations in March 2020, Universal Credit and the two child limit.

As one of over 70 organisations now part of the Cliffedge NI Coalition, Housing Rights has highlighted deep concern with the planned end of welfare mitigations.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Housing Rights responds to Breathing Space consultation

In October 2018, the Treasury published detailed policy proposals regarding the operation of a Breathing Space Scheme and associated Statutory Debt Repayment Plan (SDRP). The Breathing Space Scheme is intended to give people in problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action while they receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution. With regard to the housing-specific aspects of this consultation, the following measures are proposed:

  • Housing debts could be excludable under the SDRP, thereby enabling clients to repay these debts more quickly to avoid eviction; and
  • Where housing debts are included in any SDRP, these debts would be prioritised.

Housing Rights’ views on these proposals are outlined in this response. 


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Policy, Affordability