By VIEW editor Brian Pelan
A recent housing conference in Dundalk opened against a backdrop of a growing homelessness problem in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The Chartered Institute of Housing, who organised the Homes and Communities conference , invited a number of speakers from both north and south of the border and Britain, to address a range of issues, including homelessness, provision of social housing, regeneration, domestic abuse and the economy.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is a UK-wide body with members in Northern Ireland, Scotland Wales, and England
One of the events, (which I chaired) titled ‘Future Gazing’, had a panel line-up which included Sinn Fein TD Eoin O’Broin, SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon, Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd, housing expert Paddy Gray and David Hall, chief executive of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation.
Jim Strang, CIH vice president, who attended the event, told VIEW that he was determined to continue raising the issue of domestic house and what housing providers could do to tackle it.
“I was impressed by the work done around the issue of domestic abuse by CIH president Alison Inman. It brought back memories of when I was growing up and what I suffered and witnessed. No one at the time wanted to know about domestic abuse. When my mother was thrown out of the house and was sitting on the steps crying the neighbours didn’t come out to help her or give her a blanket or a cup of tea. It was looked upon as a ‘domestic’ between a husband and a wife.
“I hope our campaign will encourage every single housing association, who are affiliated to the Chartered Institute of Housing, to take a stand against domestic abuse.”
Others who attended the event, included Kelly Andrews, chief executive of Belfast-Lisburn Women’s Aid; Stan Burridge, Pathway; former CIH NI director Nicola McCrudden; BBC NI business editor John Campbell and Gavin Smart, deputy chief executive CIH.