The Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland
Lord Richard Best, Chair of the Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland, launched its final report on Friday 28 May 2010. The report has called for a new Housing Strategy that sets the policy direction for the next ten years.
Background to the Commission
The Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland was launched on 8th April 2009 in Belfast to set out a long-term vision for the future role of the housing system in contributing positively to Northern Ireland’s future. Its objectives were:
- To assess the key challenges and opportunities associated with the delivery of housing in Northern Ireland;
- To provide a space for housing professionals to contribute their knowledge, skills and ideas to the Commission’s outcomes; and
To publish a report containing specific recommendations on a strategic direction for housing and a roadmap for a way forward.
Social housing question needs an answer now
John Simpson argues that the social housing question needs an answer now in his analysis of the report of the independent Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland. Looking at the Commission’s recommendations on the separation of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, how social housing is financed, rent setting and private markets, he contends that the Department for Social Development must ask some “testing questions” in the face of the “logical guidance” laid out by the Commission.
Irish News welcomes “timely report”
Jamie Delargy has welcomed the report of the Commission on the Future for Housing in an opinion piece in the Irish News. Linking his interest in the report to his own experience of growing up in a house built by the district council, Mr Delargy briefly examined the report’s recommendations on investment in housing, raising Housing Executive rents, the private rented sector and developer contributions. He concluded that: “Many insiders in the housing industry will already be familiar with the commission’s report. However, its ideas deserve a much wider audience. It should be required reading for anyone who has an interest in the future of housing. The Chartered Institute of Housing has done us a service by commissioning and publishing it.”
Executive told to become an umbrella body
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive should split its landlord and funding functions, a commission into the future of the sector has recommended.
In its final report, published today, the Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland said it had dropped plans to transfer the executive’s 93,000 homes as a solution to its £750 million deficit. Instead, it wants the executive to re-profile its debt, and become an umbrella body.
Belfast Telegraph welcomes Commission’s focus on integrated housing
Both an article and editorial in Friday’s Belfast Telegraph welcomed the independent Commission on the Future for Housing in Northern Ireland and its recommendations on shared housing, haling the report as challenging, bold and imaginative. Lord Richard Best, the Commission's Chair, was quoted as saying: "This report is a free gift to the new Social Development Minister Alex Attwood - a resource of ideas for Government and planners to draw on. We don’t expect change overnight but over a period of time you can expect housing to play its part in bringing people together."
Nolan Show discusses Commission Report
Expressions of Support
"This may be the most important document on housing for many years. It contains constructive recommendations for improvements to housing in all sectors and could be the catalyst needed to take forward changes urgently required on how housing is funded and delivered here".
Gerry Gallagher, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Council
"This report provides imagination and new direction which will go a long way towards solving our housing crisis. I particularly welcome the call for a housing strategy for the whole of Northern Ireland. Another key recommendation is the need for more integrated and 'shared' housing. This has a special resonance in Northern Ireland in terms of religious integration, but it is also important in relation to mixed income housing. Unfortunately many of our communities are segregated in terms of religion, both by physical structures and also by behaviour. Whilst forced integration is not an option, choice and encouragement should be given to those who want to live together. But income has also been an inherent factor in where people live which has resulted in clusters of vulnerable groups in deprived neighbourhoods and this report provides ways to encourage integrated living."
Professor Paddy Gray - University of Ulster
"The Housing Commission Report on 'The Future for Housing in Northern Ireland' firmly establishes the platform for a wide and informed debate.
"It acknowledges the challenges we face in the midst of a full market re-profile of housing, but links these to the opportunities offered to put housing back at the heart of socio-economic recovery."
Brian Rowntree, CBE, Chairman - Northern Ireland Housing Executive
"The Housing Commission Report sets a very clear vision for housing for the period 2020. It has been published at a critical time in terms of the political, economic and financial context. Its recommendations in respect of the Housing Executive are welcome and we look forward to seeing them advanced."
Paddy McIntyre, Chief Executive - Northern Ireland Housing Executive