Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive

  I have set out the Housing Executive's policy and procedures in relation to intimidation. While it does not add greatly to the NIO memorandum, I think it adequately covers the main thrust of our actions.

  As regards the funding bid for the Shankill disturbances, we were provided £1.5 million for the main costs (repairs/rehabilitation, acquisitions and ancillary costs). In addition we were covered for SPED cases throughout Northern Ireland including the Shankill (which in fact involved relatively few cases).


  1.  The Northern Ireland Housing Executive provides a range of services in relation to persons subjected to paramilitary intimidation. These services cover:

    (a)  assessment of need for social housing or rehousing;

    (b)  temporary rehousing; furniture storage; securing homes;

    (c)  purchasing the homes of intimidated persons (Scheme for the Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings—SPED);

    (d)  rehousing through normal social housing stock or by acquiring properties (Acquisition of Satisfactory Housing).

  The policy and procedures for each of these services are detailed below.

2.   Assessment of Need

  2.1  Under Housing Executive policy, any persons presented and accepted as homeless because of intimidation are awarded sufficient housing points to ensure that they are treated as a priority for rehousing.

  2.2  The assessment process involves the Housing Executive referring the case to the RUC for confirmation or otherwise of the intimidation.

  2.3  The applicant has freedom of choice as to where he/she seeks to be rehoused.

  2.4  Where an applicant is accepted as homeless because of intimidation, he/she is entitled to an emergency grant of £199.40 provided they were a public or private tenant a the time of the intimidation.

3.   Temporary Rehousing and Related Services

  3.1  Households claiming intimidation are entitled to temporary rehousing pending an investigation of their case or while they await permanent rehousing.

  3.2  An applicant may make his own arrangements. Alternatively the Housing Executive arranges, if requested, the storage of their furniture and belongings and will take steps, if considered necessary, to secure the property.

4.   Purchasing the homes of intimidated persons

  4.1  Where an owner-occupier has been intimidated he/she may request the Housing Executive to purchase their dwelling.

  4.2  The Housing Executive will purchase the property provided it is the person's main residence and the case is certified by the RUC as intimidation.

5.   Rehousing

  5.1  Under the Housing Executive's letting policy, applicants who have suffered intimidation would be treated as urgent cases (through the award of points). The time taken to rehouse the applicant depends on the areas of choice and the availability of supply.

  5.2  Where the Housing Executive takes the view that it is unlikely to rehouse the applicant through normal stock within a reasonable period of time, it will seek to acquire a suitable property. This may be applied as a general policy to ease rehousing pressures or for a specific individual household.

8 December 2000

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