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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

April 2016

The Department for Social Development’s review of the Fitness Standard is currently underway.  The Department is seeking views on what should be included within a revised standard, how a revised standard may be enforced and how the enforcement arrangements will be conducted going forward.

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Fitness

With the upcoming 2016 Assembly Election, we take a look at the housing pledges in party manifestos.

Housing Rights believes prevention of homelessness is the best cure. We feel strongly that the Executive must ensure that advice and support is available at the right time, to help people remain in their homes. It is encouraging that the need for this support is recognised by many of the parties in their #AE16 comments on housing.

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NI Assembly

Allocation of social housing

To ask the Minister for Social Development for an update on the Housing Selection Scheme review. Mr Andy Allen, UUP AQW 55639/11-16

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NI Assembly

A recent Northern Ireland Court of Appeal judgment, Argue V Northern Ireland Housing Executive Neutral [2016] NICA 18 (5 April 2016)  considers the provisions of the Defective Premises (Landlord's Liability) Act (Northern Ireland) 2001.

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Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Case law, Landlord, Legal

When Brian first spoke to Housing Rights, he was living in a private tenancy and his only income was carer’s allowance. He was in arrears with his rent and at risk of eviction by his landlord. At this stage, Brian was not entitled to Housing Benefit, but our adviser agreed to take on his case and look into how she could help him.  

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Benefits, Practical tips, Affordability, Adviser

The UK Supreme Court recently considered issues around eligibility of certain foreign nationals for certain benefits and housing assistance.

In Samin v Westminster City Council [2016] UKSC 1 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal which sought to incorporate a proportionality requirement into the statutory test for eligibility, and to argue that the test itself was discriminatory under EU law.

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Minority Groups, Homelessness, Case law, Legal

Housing Rights has recently responded to an Inter-Departmental Review of Housing Adaptations Services, carried out by the Department for Social Development and the Department of Health.

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Fitness, Social Tenancies, Policy

There is a public consultation on rate liability in the domestic rental sector.

The aim of the consultation is to develop a domestic rates policy that is

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Policy

We’re delighted to announce that our Beyond the Gate team has been shortlisted in the Support & Care team category of the national Housing Heroes awards. 

The awards aim to shine the spotlight on the teams and individuals that make housing such a vibrant and caring sector. Many of the awards celebrate the “unsung heroes” of the housing world.

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Homelessness

Ciara Duffy is a Resettlement Officer, with North West Methodist Mission. She recently attended out Housing Advice Training Programme in Derry/Londonderry. Here, she explains how undertaking the 4 day course has helped her do her job

Each April, the Government introduces a number of changes to social security benefits. We recently updated Housing Law in Practice NI with these changes:

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Benefits

The Office of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman was established on 1 April 2016.  This new office replaces the former offices of the Assembly Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Complaints.  

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Regulation

We had over 90 delegates attend the Housing Rights and Supporting Communities conference on Monday 11 April 2016.

Hustings Inforgraphic

Housing Rights is pleased to join with the Council for the Homeless, the Chartered Institute of Housing NI and the NI Federation for Housing Associations to convene a Housing and Homelessness Hustings on Friday 15 April from 14:00 to 16:00 at the Girdwood Community Hub in north Belfast, 10 Girdwood Avenue, Belfast, Antrim BT14 6EG.

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Policy

This week sees the adoption of a new minimum living wage of £7.20 per hour in Northern Ireland.   Research suggests that 13% of workers in NI should see their wages increase as a result of the new National Living Wage being adopted in November of this year.  However, this increase will only apply to workers aged 25 or older.  

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Benefits, Money Matters