13/06/2018

Residents In South Belfast Told To Move Out Over Safety Concerns

Residents living in a block of flats in south Belfast have been told they must move out over safety fears.

Radius Housing, which runs Russell Court, said major concerns have been raised after a fire safety survey was carried out.

The 60 residents were informed on Tuesday, 12 June, and have been given four weeks to move out.

A spokesperson from Radius Housing said: "Temporary accommodation will be available for all who require it while they are waiting to be permanently re-housed under the Housing Selection Scheme administered by the NIHE.

"Having taken expert advice we have put in place a number of enhanced safety measures whilst this re-accommodation process is underway. This includes Fire Marshals who are now present on-site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We continue to work with NIFRS throughout this process. 

"Unlike Block B, Block A was extensively refurbished in 2011 and does not present the same concerns. 
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"Working with the NIHE, we have put in place a dedicated team to provide advice for those affected by this move. This includes housing staff, NIHE staff, and who together will provide advice on temporary accommodation, permanent accommodation, welfare payments and other issues. 

"A dedicated phone-line and email address for those affected is also now in place. Radius Housing will provide compensation and other additional support to those affected."

John McLean, CEO of Radius Housing said: "We understand that this news will be distressing for our residents some of whom have lived here for many years. We will do all we can now and in the future to support this re-accommodation process."

Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson Carál Ní Chuilín said: "The shock of being told you have to leave your home within four weeks, especially for tenants who have lived there for many years, must be recognised and the appropriate level of support as well as rehousing options should be offered to Russell Court residents.

"People not only need secure accommodation to meet their needs but the most vulnerable will also need support in making what will inevitably be a very stressful transition."

(CD/MH)

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