Tughans were pleased to support the Northern Ireland Housing Conference Alongside Agenda NI
Facing an uncertain future
The next few years will be a time of great change for Northern Ireland’s housing sector. In October 2012, Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland launched a consultation on Northern Ireland’s first housing strategy, Facing the Future.
The strategy is about delivering a programme for the next five years to get Northern Ireland building, working and living in housing that best meets their needs, is affordable and makes best use of the budgets and assets we have at our disposal.
The five key themes of the strategy are:
- Ensuring access to decent, affordable, sustainable homes.
- Meeting housing needs and supporting the most vulnerable.
- Housing and welfare reform.
- Driving regeneration and sustaining communities through housing.
- Getting the structures right.
A Changing Sector
Already in January 2013, it has been announced that the Northern Ireland Housing Executive may be dismantled in a major restructuring move, with up to 90,000 homes being transferred to local housing associations. The 2013 conference will focus on the key themes above and the challenges that will lie ahead for the sector. Welfare reform, and its consequences on the housing sector locally will be a major discussion theme at this year’s event. Also examined will be the issue of financing and funding the social housing sector which continues to represent a major challenge in light of ever-reducing budgets. The issue of affordability also remains an important priority – although house prices are falling, difficulties still remain in terms of accessing mortgages. The conference will take a wide-ranging and strategic look at the sector, with the aim of identifying innovative solutions to meet these challenges.
Pictured [L-R] John-George Willis, Tughans; Donald Hoodless, Northern Ireland Housing Executive; Heather Cousins, Department for Social Development; Cameron Watt, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations; Professor Paddy Gray, University of Ulster and Jim Dennison, Chartered Institute of Housing.