A report compared urban housing in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Berlin, Germany, outlining similarities between both cities, as well as contrasting innovation in housing developments. It said that existing approaches to development and design quality in Belfast might be building further, irreversible segregation into the urban environment. The report made a range of recommendations, including changes to the scale and density of development, for more small scale building projects, and for innovative financing.
Source: Dougal Sheridan (ed.), Translating Housing: Berlin-Belfast, Northern Ireland Department for Social Development
A report provided findings from the first phase of work of a taskforce that was established to investigate the impact of negative equity, repayment arrears, and possessions in Northern Ireland. It said that Northern Ireland's landscape continued to be shaped by the legacy of the rise and subsequent fall in house prices prior to, and then after, the economic crisis. The report said that many of those adversely affected had previously became over-indebted, and had been unable to withstand income-shocks or life-changing events. The work was ongoing and the next phase sought responses to an online survey, and would consider and develop potential mitigating actions.
Source: Taskforce Initial Evidence Paper: Negative equity, arrears and possessions in Northern Ireland, Repossessions Taskforce
The Northern Ireland Executive began consultation on a proposed system of developer contributions for affordable housing in Northern Ireland. The proposals would require planning authorities to seek contributions from developers for affordable housing, as a proportion of all newly-proposed housing developments above a threshold number of dwellings. The consultation was published alongside a related draft planning policy and consultations on both documents would close on 26 August 2014.
Source: Developer Contributions for Affordable Housing: Public consultation, Northern Ireland Executive
Source: Draft Planning Policy Statement 22: Affordable housing, Northern Ireland Executive
A report evaluated recent changes to Local Housing Allowances (LHAs) and Housing Benefit (HB) in the private rented sector (PRS) in Northern Ireland. It said that, overall, the effects had been 'fairly muted', with no evidence found of large scale tenant displacement or of landlords leaving the LHA submarket. However, it said the LHA measures had changed the attitudes of landlords towards letting to single people under 35, there were increased negotiations over rents with both existing and prospective tenants, more landlords reported increased rent arrears, and tenants reported growing pressure on their household budgets. The report said that the LHA measures had only just begun to take full effect at the time of the second wave of the research, and that the changes would have ongoing consequences which, as further welfare reforms evolved, would mean ongoing affordability problems for many low income households in the PRS.
Source: Christina Beatty, Ian Cole, Stephen Green, Peter Kemp, Ryan Powell, and Elizabeth Sanderson, Monitoring the Impact of Recent Measures Affecting Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowances in the Private Rented Sector in Northern Ireland: Final report, Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (Sheffield Hallam University)
An article examined the use of the private rented sector in Northern Ireland to house vulnerable (chronically) homeless people. It said that the policy was controversial, and there were some concerns about housing management quality, affordability, security of tenure, and suitability for homeless people with high support needs. The article argued that the Housing First and Housing Led models of support that had been effective in other countries could be adapted to the Northern Ireland context but, although the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Department for Social Development were committed to considering a Housing First model and more holistic, tailored support solutions, the economic recession, welfare reform, and shortage of affordable social housing might undermine policy development.
Source: Peter Oï¿½Neill, 'Meeting the housing needs of vulnerable homeless people in Northern Ireland', European Journal of Homelessness, Volume 7 Number 2
The Northern Ireland Executive began consultation on proposals to consolidate over 20 separate planning policy statements into a single statement. The consultation would close on 29 April 2014.
Source: A Strategic Planning Policy Statement for Northern Ireland (Draft), Northern Ireland Executive
The Northern Ireland Executive launched a public consultation to gather views on the outcomes of research into social housing allocations. The research had been commissioned as part of an ongoing review and there would now be three public events to discuss the findings before the consultation would close on 4 March 2014.
Source: Northern Ireland Executive
Report 1: Paddy Gray, Michaela Keenan, Ursula McAnulty, Anna Clarke, Sarah Monk, and Connie Tang, Research to Inform a Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations Policy – Report 1: Current approaches to accessing and allocating social housing in Northern Ireland, University of Ulster/University of Cambridge
Report 2: Paddy Gray, Michaela Keenan, Ursula McAnulty, Anna Clarke, Sarah Monk, and Connie Tang, Research to Inform a Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations Policy – Report 2: Best practice approaches to accessing and allocating social housing in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, University of Ulster/University of Cambridge
Report 3: Paddy Gray, Michaela Keenan, Ursula McAnulty, Anna Clarke, Sarah Monk, and Connie Tang, Research to Inform a Fundamental Review of Social Housing Allocations Policy – Final Report: Conclusions and recommendations, University of Ulster/University of Cambridge