Legal challenge to Northern Ireland housing points scheme

Legal challenge to Northern Ireland housing points scheme

Alyson Kilpatrick

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has issued a legal challenge over the allocation of ‘intimidation points’ to social housing applicants.

The case against the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Department for Communities argues that the housing selection scheme, as currently designed, is unlawful.

A wide range of individuals are not receiving an award of intimidation points when they should, the Commission claims.

Alyson Kilpatrick, chief commissioner of the NIHRC, said: “The Commission has issued proceedings because we consider that the current application of the housing selection scheme’s criteria for points, in particular intimidation points, is unlawful.

“It is our position that the limitations and inconsistent provision of points for social housing fails to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of people who are very vulnerable. This is compounded by the absence of an appeal process to review and challenge relevant decisions made by the Housing Executive.

“Both in design and implementation, we believe the scheme does not properly consider people’s circumstances and fails to address domestic violence, gender-based violence, the intimidation of individuals from within their own community or the real impact of anti-social behaviour.”

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