Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Social housing for Northern Ireland 'violates human rights law'

Social housing provision in Northern Ireland does not comply with human rights standards, research found
Social housing provision in Northern Ireland does not comply with human rights standards, research found

Social housing provision in Northern Ireland does not comply with human rights standards, damning new research has revealed.

A report released by Queen's University Belfast found that despite the thousands of people on the waiting list for homes, social housing remains underfunded.

Academics in the university's School of Law, who analysed Assembly spending on the issue, said it did not comply with international legal obligations.

The report also found that the waiting list for social housing has significantly increased since devolution.

Approximately 40,000 people are currently in need of a home or have asked to be moved.

Dr Rory O'Connell, speaking on behalf of the Queen's Budget Analysis Project Team, said: "Adequate housing is a basic human right, essential to human dignity, security and wellbeing.

"Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly are legally bound to use their resources to maximum effect in ensuring the right to adequate housing.

"While a considerable amount of revenue was raised under the House Sales Scheme, the budget for new social housing has not been adequately resourced to ensure sufficient levels of new build to address the increases in waiting lists and homelessness.

"With more homes being sold than built, the social housing stock has decreased from 176,000 homes in 1987 to around 116,000 today."

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