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Involving people in decisions about housing and homelessness

We asked Involve to research what is being done to involve 'experts by experience'  in decisions about housing policy and services.

6 June 2023
  • Homelessness

At Housing Rights, we are committed to ensuring that decisions made about housing and homelessness are informed by ‘experts by experience’. These are people who have experienced housing problems and homelessness.  We asked Involve to  research  what  is being done to involve 'experts by experience'  in decisions about housing policy and services.

Understanding the barriers to participation

The research shows that there are a wide range of groups whose voices are not being heard. People face barriers due to their gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, immigration status, religion, disability and caring responsibilities. The research also explains how all of us working in housing,  homelessness and in government, can do better by giving six recommendations:

1. Involvement makes a difference

2.The statutory environment supports participation by default

3.There is capacity for participation within decision making structures

4.Involvement happens throughout the decision-making process

5.Decision makers have strong connections with others who are already involving affected groups

6.Understand what works

Translating research into action

Based on this research, and learning from our participation eventwe’ve written a paper with a number of key asks including:

We are asking the NI Executive to:

· Make it a legal requirement for people affected by policy decisions to be involved in designing solutions

· Train government staff who design policy to make sure they know how to involve people in the process

We are asking the Department for Communities to:

· Ensure everyone has a chance to be involved in decisions – whether they are renting, own their own home, or are experiencing homeless

· Evaluate how people are involved to keep improving things

We are asking the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to:

· Continue to involve experts by experience in their plans to tackle homelessness

· Consider how to involve these experts in decisions about  allocating social housing

We are also asking these statutory bodies to pay people for their time and expertise where possible. Paying these experts, in a way that meets their needs, shows the value they contribute.', in whatever way meets their needs.

Learn more about involving experts by experience

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