14/10/2011

Big Changes Loom For NI Housing Sector

Significant changes are to be suggested in the housing sector following questions over why so much public money was being paid to social housing providers and why so many separate organisations are providing housing in Northern Ireland.

Addressing the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations on the theme of 'Time for Change', Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland outlined how future challenges could change the shape of both Housing Associations and the Housing Executive.



The DUP Minister congratulated housing associations for the quality and range of housing and their success in reducing homelessness over many years, but also urged them to be ready to adapt to the changing environment in delivering public services. 



The Minister said: "I very much value the role of housing associations and need you to build on your success to date.
News Image
"However, I question whether it is right to have as many as 31 separate organisations all providing housing in a place the size of Northern Ireland."

"In my view, we must have a leaner, more fit for purpose movement," he added.

According to the Minister rationalisation has to be the way forward but he said "imagination" and "creativity" were needed to best move forward without losing the "collective strengths of big and not so big associations".



Referring to recent high profile housing association failures the Minister made no apology for robust inspection by government given the substantial amount of public money being paid to social housing providers.

Minister McCausland also made reference to the ongoing review of the NI Housing Executive.

He told delegates that he planned to make an announcement on the way forward for the Housing Executive by Christmas.



The Minister said that a change was inevitable and the "do nothing option is in effect, not an option".

(LB/BMcC)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 December 2021
Array Collective Wins 2021 Turner Prize
Array Collective, a group of Belfast-based artists, have been announced the winners of the Turner Prize 2021. The group, which comprises of 11 artists, have become the first Northern Irish winners to scoop the prestigious award.
07 July 2011
Builders Get Major House Building Boost
A substantial Co Antrim housing scheme has been launched this week proving much needed good news for the beleaguered construction sector. Stormont Social Development (DSD) Minister Nelson McCausland has officially started the new £18.5m family housing development in Lisburn.
06 August 2015
Crumlin Social Housing Scheme Opened
A new social housing scheme of three and four bedroom houses has been officially opened in Crumlin. The fourteen new homes for families on the social housing waiting list, is owned and managed by Habinteg Housing Association who funded the build, with support from the Department for Social Development.
05 April 2013
NI 'Can't Afford' Bedroom Tax
Changes to housing benefit planned by the UK government will cost Northern Ireland more money than it will save, according to new figures. The new 'Bedroom Tax' is part of the Conservative government's welfare reforms, which seek to save money and help cut Britain's deficit.
05 March 2010
Housing Association Achieves Excellence
One of Northern Ireland's largest housing associations has been presented with its Customer Service Excellence Standard. Helm Housing (previously BIH Housing) is the first housing association in Northern Ireland to achieve this accolade, which was presented by Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie, (pictured, on site).