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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Getting the right advice can prevent homelessness

People who become homeless are facing major problems finding affordable rented accommodation due to housing shortages. Local advice charity Housing Rights Service (HRS) set up almost 50 years ago, says more help is needed to prevent homelessness occurring in the first place. The charity is highlighting the issue as part of Homelessness Awareness Week.

Most people who contact HRS for assistance are either homeless or at risk of losing their home.

Ursula Toner, Advice Services Manager with HRS said:

“Everyday we hear from people across NI who are struggling to pay for their homes, whether that is mortgage or rent.  Getting the right advice and support at the right time can be critical to preventing homelessness.”

To help prevent homelessness, HRS believes that everyone should have access to specialist free advice and support. Early intervention, the charity says can save homes.

Ms Toner continued:

“Breakdown of tenancy and sharing arrangements can end up with someone becoming homeless. If people can’t find somewhere else to live, they may move into a hostel or sofa surf. This is where people move around, sleeping on sofas just to keep a roof over their head. The exact number of hidden homeless is unknown. We would urge anyone who is homeless or at risk of losing their home to get advice. Housing Rights Service offers free advice on housing options, advocates on people’s behalf and if necessary can represent people in court.”

HRS operates a telephone advice line 028 90245640 or online help is available at www.housingadviceNI.org, a website funded by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive

ENDS

Notes to editors:
For further information contact Frances Housing Rights Service on 90 245640
Spokespersons will be available for comment.

  • Established in 1964 Housing Rights Service is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland. The charity works to achieve positive change by protecting and promoting the rights of people who are in housing need in Northern Ireland.
  • In addition to housing advice HRS operates the Mortgage Debt Advice Service on behalf of the DSD.
  • HRS is just about to publish its Annual Report. It shows that in 2013-2014 its advisers dealt with over 40,000 housing issues