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VIEWdigital held a successful launch yesterday in Belfast for its print edition of its latest magazine of VIEW which examined housing issues in Northern Ireland, the Republic and Britain.] The event was held at Connswater Homes headquarters in City Link Business Park. Among those who attended were Jennifer Hawthorne and Michelle Canning from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Professor Paddy Gray who was the guest editor for the housing issue. Cameron Watt from the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations and Justin Cartwright from the Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Ireland were also at the event. VIEWdigital would like to…

Guest editor Professor Paddy Gray, above, explains how things have changed when it comes to the role of housing in Northern Ireland I grew up in was in an aluminium bungalow in a place called Daire’sWillows in Armagh. There were 20 such bungalows erected by the old NI Housing Trust then transferred to the NIHE when it took over responsibilities for housing in 1971. Like similar estates across Northern Ireland it was known as Tin Town. In those days public housing (or social housing as it became known in the 1990s) was for all, and indeed we had a mixture…

By Ciara Lawn Image: Hannah Mitchell Distressing living conditions have left Catherine McDaid, 19, mother of two-year-old toddler Téagan, suffering from depression and anxiety. Discarded heroin needles litter the street outside the north Belfast apartment where she currently shares a bed with her mother, two feet from Téagan’s cot. It is also home to Catherine’s brother, her mother’s carer. “I have anxiety, depression, I go to counselling. I can’t sleep. My doctor wrote a letter to the Housing Executive saying he was worried about my mental wellbeing. “I would take a house anywhere that’s secure, safe and where my child…

The following article was sent to VIEW by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive who supported our housing issue. The Housing Executive was established at the height of the Troubles to bring an impartial, fair and unbiased approach to dealing with housing. Throughout the conflict, the organisation has continued to deliver housing services based on need to all sections of the community regardless of religion, political belief, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or race. But, 17 years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed social housing in Northern Ireland remains deeply segregated. Over 90 per cent of social housing areas remain segregated…

A social impact evaluation from Gauge NI has found that for every £1 invested into NOW Group, £8 in social value is generated. NOW Group is a social enterprise which supports people with barriers to employment and learning into jobs with a future. They run a number of programmes and services including the Transition II programme and an Educational & Career Guidance Service. Transition II is a five day activity based programme for 18-30 year olds who have a learning disability and are from the Belfast area, while the Educational & Career Guidance Service helps clients to explore all their…

Clark Bailie, above, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, wants the organisation to play its part in creating a peaceful, inclusive, prosperous and fair society. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the setting up of the Housing Executive as the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland. Since 1971 we have had a crucial role in transforming homes and neighbourhoods and, importantly, people’s lives. We have always recognised that our housing strategies and policies are about ‘more than bricks and mortar’ and we are committed to developing those as we enter our fifth decade in existence. Community and…

By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor Some people that I interview are tense and others are extremely relaxed. Paddy McIntyre, the former chief executive of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), easily fell into the latter category. It also helped that we are both ardent supporters of Manchester United, despite the club’s recent tribulations. Over cups of coffee and as the time drifted by, Paddy reflected on his time in the NIHE, from his early involvement in the 1970s to later taking over at the helm of the organisation. “I can remember when I applied for a trainee job in the…

In the wake of the recent shocking suicide figures which revealed that more people in Northern Ireland have taken their lives in comparison to those killed during the Troubles, VIEW editor Brian Pelan spoke to Professor Siobhan O’Neill, above, about the links between mental health and housing A recent report in the news which stated that more people have died by suicide in the past 17 years than were killed during 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland led me to meeting Professor Siobhan O’Neill from the Ulster University. I wanted to ask Siobhan, who is the professor of mental…

By David Sturgess, solicitor, Edwards and Company, www.edwardsandcompany.co.uk Hot Topics for Social Landlord 1, Remuneration One of the most hotly debated issues for housing associations and their trustees is the issue of paying board members. According to The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (the Commission) board members should only be paid for trusteeship in exceptional circumstances. The Commission have recently issued guidance on making payments to trustees. However the most significant shift in policy is the determination by DSD cited as The Registered Housing Association Payment and Grant of Benefits (NI) Determination 2015 which came into operation on 22 October 2015…

Social enterprise business Gauge NI has urged housing associations in Northern Ireland to develop a process for measuring the social value of their work. In a statement, Guage NI said that: “Housing associations provide a vital service to the community in Northern Ireland. Not only do they supply affordable housing to people who need it, but increasingly they also offer community initiatives, social investment and skills development opportunities for residents. “Other property initiatives such as Community Asset Transfer, which sees former local authority properties transferred to community led organisations, also have a significant impact on the community and people who benefit from…

The Big Lottery Fund is out and about across Northern Ireland today to reveal major changes in how it will fund as it announces a new multi-million pound programme. The People and Communities programme will invest £60 million over the next five years to support voluntary, community and social enterprise groups to work with local people to make the changes they want in their communities. The programme is about more than just an application form and groups are being asked to talk to the Big Lottery Fund team about their project idea before they apply. To start some of those…

Chief Officers Third Sector (CO3) and the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO) are delighted to announce the launch of a project that will work with 100 Third Sector organisations in Northern Ireland and Scotland to help them better understand and strengthen their capacity. The project, which has received a grant of £358,810 from the Big Lottery Fund, will use the online diagnostic Core Capacity Assessment Tool (CCAT) to help the groups to better understand their strengths and areas for development, allow support providers and funders to deliver more targeted support, and provide a comparative dataset on…

Northern Ireland’s newest networking organisation – Personal Best NI – the first ever forum for Personal Assistants (PAs) and those supporting Chief Officers, today issued an invite for new members in advance of their next meeting on Tuesday, January 26, at Helm House, Belfast. Personal Best NI is the first group of its kind in Northern Ireland and aims to provide members with opportunities to share learning, best practice, experience and also to network with those in similar occupations across the region. Membership is not exclusive to PAs and includes Office Managers, Executive Assistants and Networking and Membership Co-ordinators. The…

Local charity Housing Rights is urging people who are worried about paying their mortgage following Christmas to contact them for free advice. Peter McMahon, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights, said: “We know that many people in Northern Ireland are struggling with debt and will often put off dealing with it until after Christmas. We want to let them know that free advice and assistance is available and the earlier they seek help the more options are available.” Housing Rights offer a dedicated mortgage debt advice service on behalf of the Department for Social Development. Last year the service assisted…

The social justice charity Extern is celebrating after eight members of its Board achieved an ILM Award in Leadership and Management, focusing on leading governance. Following a Board meeting in Cavan, Board members were presented with their certificates by author, and former Governor of Mountjoy Prison, John Lornegan, who talked about his experience of working with young people within the justice system in Ireland. Welcoming the ILM Award achieved by Board members, Extern Chief Executive, Charlie Mack, said: “At Extern we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality services for our many clients.  I am delighted that our Board also has…

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