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How is our work influencing life in Northern Ireland and delivering equality? Learn more about our policy, legal and research work.

Housing policy priorities and recommendations

draft proposals

What you need to know

Consultation responses

Housing policy priorities and recommendations - draft proposals

Housing is a basic human need and provides a foundation for family and community life.  Good quality, affordable housing in safe, sustainable communities is essential to ensuring health, well-being and a prosperous society.

The Commission is mindful of the complex relationships that exist between housing and other domains.  Addressing key inequalities will not only require work across a range of Departments, agencies and functions of government, but also by organisations who have responsibilities for, or an interest in, housing and communities in Northern Ireland.

Developed from a range of research and evidence sources, and the Commission’s wider work over a number of years, the following sets out the Commission’s views on specific policy priorities and recommendations for action:

Develop shared, safe communities based on equality, dignity and respect

Action is required to:


  • Advance sharing in housing, while ensuring that objectively assessed housing need is met.1
  • Implement specific long-term measures to eliminate discrimination and intimidation, tackle prejudicial attitudes and promote values of acceptance and respect for difference.2
  • Further tackle the under-reporting of hate incidents and crimes (against persons and dwellings), and to increase outcome rates.3
  • Address the fear of crime among older people, so that they can feel safe within their homes and communities.4

Ensure that everyone has access to a sustainable home and enjoys the right to independent living

Action is required to:

  • Ensure application of accessible housing standards to all new builds.5
  • Provide information regarding the availability of accessible accommodation.6
  • Ensure the provision of easy to access and affordable adaptation services across all tenures – including by streamlining existing processes; increasing awareness of grants; and reducing waiting times.7
  • Extend the Disability Discrimination Act to include reasonable adjustments to communal areas in residential properties.8
  • Ensure access to adequate, sustainable and long-term independent living provision, for all people with disabilities for whom it is a viable housing option.9
  • Ensure that older people of differing sexual orientations and transgender people have their residential or nursing care needs fully met.10
  • Ensure sufficient Health and Social Care Trust capacity to care for permanent care home residents (where they wish it), and provide for all older residents requiring care and support.11
  • Understand the housing expectations and requirements of accommodation for older people.12
  • Implementation of a fuel brokering scheme to secure competitive rates across all tenures.13
  • Ensure the availability of suitable accommodation and services for homeless single males; younger and older people; and refugees and unsuccessful asylum seekers.14

Address the specific housing needs of particular equality groups

Address the specific housing needs of particular equality groups

Action is required to:

  • Address the longer waiting-list times for social housing experienced by households with a Catholic religion household reference person.*
  • Ensure that the accommodation needs of Travellers are met, including through strategic partnerships in consultation with the Traveller community.15
  • Review the appropriateness of a seperate planning process for Traveller families applying to establish serviced family sites in the countryside.16
  • Ensure greater awareness of the rights, responsibilities and housing options relevant to minority ethnic groups.17
  • Deteremine the reasons for overcrowding among moniority ethnic groups.18

Mitigate the long-term negative impacts of Welfare Reform

Action is required to:


  • ensure that the mitigation of negative impacts of Welfare Reform continues on a long-term basis19
  • monitor the effect on unemployed 18-21 year olds when access to housing benefit is withdrawn, and that steps are taken to ensure benefit changes do not result in a rise in youth homelessness20
  • address the needs of single tenants aged 35 years and under when renting in the private rented sector 21
  • tackle the barriers which the ‘digital by default’ system of benefits may present to those within some Section 75 categories 22

Ensure equality data collection & disaggregation is sufficient to inform development and delivery of a robust Prog for Govt

Ensure equality data collection and disaggregation is sufficient to inform the development of robust Programme for Government and delivery of effective PfG outcomes

Action is required to:


  • address key equality data gaps across a number of areas of public policy23
  • ensure data is sufficiently disaggregated to allow for meaningful equality analysis, to better inform public policy intervention24

Housing Inequalities logo
It is anticipated that these policy recommendations, in tandem with our Statement on Key Inequalities, will both support and challenge government and key partners to address key inequalities in housing and communities through the development and delivery of legislation, policy and services over the incoming mandate.

While the Commission will urge prompt action to address and implement these recommendations, we will for the next period also continue to engage with a range of key stakeholders to further refine our proposals and recommendations. Contact if you would like to discuss these.


< Housing & Communities
< Addressing Inequality


How have we advised Government on policy issues?

The Commission seeks to shape public policy through a range of channels, including by responding to public consultations.  We are frequently asked to consider and comment on government policy and strategy documents on our areas of expertise.

Here are our most recent responses to consultations on housing and communities:

Consultation responses

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) seeks to shape public policy through a range of channels. Responding to public consultations is an important part of this work.


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