Project to transform social housing in Northern Ireland

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The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Northern Ireland has launched a major new project to help transform the future of social housing

Rethinking social housing Northern Ireland will engage with tenants, the general public, the Housing Executive, housing associations and politicians to explore the ‘big questions’ around social housing.

It will combine people’s views with original research to consider the future role and purpose of social housing.

Sponsored by the Department for Communities (DfC), Rethinking social housing Northern Ireland mirrors a project CIH launched in England.

The Rethinking social housing Northern Ireland project aims to:

  • Stimulate a wide-ranging debate about the future of social housing
  • Understand and challenge perceptions of social housing
  • Influence and shape the direction of future housing policy.

Nicola McCrudden, CIH director for Northern Ireland said: “Social housing plays a vital function by providing low cost rented homes for low-income families on a secure basis.

“Broadly speaking, the way we approach social housing in Northern Ireland has not changed much over the last couple of decades.

“In Britain welfare reform and government funding pressures have had profound impacts on social housing, particularly in England.

“The tragedy at Grenfell Tower has placed social housing firmly in the public consciousness and has led to widespread debate on its role and purpose in today’s society.”

Sponsors of the project include; Choice Housing, Clanmil Housing, Radius Housing and Triangle Housing, who together with DfC will form part of the project’s steering and advisory group with representatives from across the housing and homelessness sectors.

This group will be independently chaired by Will Haire CB, currently chair of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Haire said: “Social housing is core to enabling people to live decent lives – better understanding its nature and role is an important debate we need to have here.

“This project is an opportunity for people with an interest in social housing to have their say.

“We want as many individuals and organisations as possible to take part.

“Giving a voice to tenants and the public will be central.

“I am delighted that CIH is taking the lead on this challenge, and that we will be listening to as many voices as possible.”

Results of the project are set to be published with a report in July, which will include recommendations to the social housing sector and the government.

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