NI: Executive urged to review homelessness prevention laws

Nicola McCrudden, CIH director for Ireland and Northern Ireland
Nicola McCrudden, CIH director for Ireland and Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive should conduct a review of legislation aimed at preventing homelessness, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has said.

Nicola McCrudden, CIH director for Ireland and Northern Ireland, said the existing laws in Northern Ireland are “without question … complex and inadequate”.

She also said that legislative changes implemented in Scotland and Wales had proven to be effective.

Twelve months after the introduction of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, official data “evidences that the new legislation - along with closer partnership working arrangements - has helped to prevent 70 per cent (3,400) of at risk households from becoming homeless”.

Ms McCrudden said: “Clearly with this evidence the Northern Ireland Executive should be conducting a review its homeless law.

“We have a desperate housing shortage locally meaning that twenty per cent of local households are renting privately, with very little security.

“So there is an even greater need to focus policy attention and resources on promoting joined up, professional approach to homelessness prevention.

“Measures should include advice on tenancy sustainment and a user friendly system to resolve common disputes between landlords and tenants.”

She added: “There is already excellent work being done on homeless prevention and relief, in both the statutory and voluntary sectors locally, but we are not quite there yet. However with political will, supportive legislation and co-operative working practices I am confident the journey to end homelessness can truly begin.”

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