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Changes to Housing Selection Scheme Announced

Changes to the Housing Selection Scheme in Northern Ireland come into effect this week.

The Housing Selection Scheme and Common Waiting List governs the allocation of all permanent social housing in Northern Ireland.

It has been in place for more than 20 years and changes are now being introduced to ensure that those in greatest housing need receive priority, with recognition of their time in need.

Jennifer Hawthorne, Housing Executive Director of Housing Services, explained:

“Twenty proposals for change to improve the housing allocation system were identified through the Fundamental Review of Allocations (FRA).

“Eighteen of these proposals were approved by the Minister for Communities and will be implemented by the Housing Executive in four key delivery stages over three years.

“We are pleased to launch stage one and have written to all households on the waiting list to explain the changes and what this means for them.”

Stage one of the FRA change proposals will see the implementation of four proposals:

• An independent, tenure neutral housing advice service for Northern Ireland
• A greater choice of areas for all applicants
• An applicant may receive two reasonable offers of accommodation
• Social landlords may withdraw an offer of accommodation in specified circumstances.

Jennifer Hawthorne continued: “What this means in real terms for those on the waiting list is that they will be able to choose as many or as few areas of choice for a home as they wish.

There will also be a reduction from three reasonable offers of accommodation to two.

“Applicants will also benefit from our Housing Solutions Support Service which provides independent tenure-neutral housing advice throughout their housing journey.

“Customers will be allocated a dedicated housing advisor who will be able to discuss housing options and provide tailored advice and assistance.”

“We believe these changes will help to create a better, more efficient service for people in housing need.”

“Customers on the waiting list will receive a letter and information leaflet from us over the coming days however should they wish to speak to someone they can contact their Housing Officer – this may be your Housing Advisor or Patch Manager if you are a Housing Executive tenant or a Housing officer if you are a Housing Association tenant who will be happy to help.”

Further information about the Fundamental Review of Allocations and change proposals can be found on the NIHE website at: http://www.nihe.gov.uk/housing-help/apply-for-a-home/fundamental-review-of-allocations

ENDS

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