Northern Ireland Housing Conference

Thursday 15th April ● Online Conference

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On 9 January 2020 the New Decade, New Approach deal was published to restore a functioning Northern Ireland Executive. Priority was afforded to housing due to the persistent level of housing stress in our communities. Huge challenges around the provision of housing already existed – and then the world was turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of March 2019 there were 37,859 applicants on the social housing waiting list. Seven out of every 10 households waiting for a social home were deemed to be in priority need of housing – officially described as housing stress. From January to June 2020 there were 7,911 homeless presenters and 2,930 households living in temporary accommodation. A large proportion of households presenting as homeless is due to family/relationship breakdown and issues around mental health and debt – something that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Covid-19 has also had an impact on the 2019/20 new build social housing target – with a target of 1,850 unit starts only 761 were completed.

With a shortage of housing, we must find new ways to supply housing for people in need as well as making best use of existing stock. As we move forward, we must continue to prioritise the most vulnerable. There must also be a broader range of affordable housing options both for social and private rental and for purchase as well as accommodation that is suitable for single person households, as well as families.

Post-Covid: All change?

Covid-19 has forced a radical shift in the way we work, with digital access and collaboration becoming key. There was collaboration right across the sector to tackle homelessness during the pandemic, trying to ensure that no one was sleeping rough. The need to safeguard those experiencing homelessness from infection while still ensuring that services could run smoothly has shown what is possible. Digital inclusion and effective tenant engagement became even more important in 2020. As we hopefully approach the recovery phase of the pandemic, there is the opportunity to reset rather than revert to old ways of working.

For the most vulnerable, the need for wraparound services will be more important now than ever before, as will Supporting People, particularly as the legacy of Covid-19 becomes clearer.

As well as those in social housing, there is also the need to protect private renters. Once the furlough scheme ends later this year, there will be a significant impact on people’s income and unemployment rates. Very often those who are employed in the sectors most adversely affected by Covid-19 are those who are younger and in lower paid work.

After decades of proposals, there are also plans to revitalise the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. In late 2020 plans were announced to effectively split the organisation in two. The landlord function will be reclassified as a mutual organisation allowing it to borrow and invest in stock and build new homes.

location

Location

Online

location

Time

From 09:00
Thursday 15th April 2021

This year the Northern Ireland Housing Conference will be delivered online. Once again, it will bring together key stakeholders and look at how we can fulfil the need for safe, affordable housing both now and in the future.

Key issues examined:

  • Housing policy in Northern Ireland
  • The future of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Housing Associations: Planning for a post-Covid future
  • The impact of Covid-19 on homelessness
  • A whole housing approach for the survivors of domestic abuse
  • The impact of Covid-19 on private renters
  • Community investment to transform lives
  • Effective tenant engagement during the pandemic
  • Empowering communities with digital skills
  • The shape of the future social housing provider
  • Innovation in housing: Reimagining better ways to live
  • Collaboration for better results
  • Lessons from elsewhere: Eradicating homelessness in Finland

Confirmed

Speakers

Deirdre Hargey, MLA


Minister for Communities

Ben Collins

Chief Executive
Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations

Jim Dennison

Chief Executive
Simon Community

Professor Paddy Gray OBE

Vice Chair, Glasgow Housing Association; Chair, Connswater Homes and Board Member, The Wheatley Housing Group

Grainia Long

Incoming Chief Executive
Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Caroline Mackechnie-Jarvis

Whole Housing Programme Manager
Standing Together and Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance

Dr Martina McAuley

Research and Evaluation Co-ordinator
Housing Rights

Clare McCarty OBE

Group Chief Executive
Clanmil Housing Association

John McLean OBE

Chief Executive
Radius Housing

Stephanie McKillop

Digital Inclusion Officer
Supporting Communities

Dr Saija Turunen

Research Manager
Y Foundation, Finland

Ursula Toner

Regional Head, Tenant & Client Services
Choice Housing

On the day

Event Programme

09.00

David Whelan
Deputy Editor
agendaNi magazine

Chair’s welcome and introduction

Deirdre Hargey, MLA
Minister for Communities

Housing policy update in Northern Ireland

Grainia Long
Chief Executive
Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Transforming the delivery of housing services

Jim Dennison
Chief Executive
Simon Community

The impact of Covid-19 on homelessness in Northern Ireland

Dr Saija Turunen
Research Manager
Y Foundation, Finland

Housing First in Finland and eradicating homelessness

Questions & answers / panel discussion

10.45

Comfort break

PUTTING PEOPLE AT THE CENTRE

11.15

Stephanie McKillop
Digital Inclusion Officer
Supporting Communities

Empowering communities with digital skills

Caroline Mackechnie-Jarvis
Whole Housing Programme Manager
Standing Together and Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance

A whole housing approach for the survivors of domestic abuse

Ursula Toner
Regional Head, Tenant & Client Services
Choice Housing

Looking to the future: Covid-19 and what it means for tenant and community engagement

Dr Martina McAuley
Research and Evaluation Co-ordinator
Housing Rights

The Perfect Storm: The impact of Covid-19 on private renters

Questions & answers / panel discussion

1245

Comfort break

13.45

PANEL DISCUSSION
Housing Associations:
Planning for a post-Covid Future

Ben Collins, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations

Professor Paddy Gray OBE, Vice Chair, Glasgow Housing Association; Chair, Connswater Homes and Board Member, The Wheatley Housing Group

Clare McCarty OBE, Group Chief Executive, Clanmil Housing Association

John McLean OBE, Chief Executive, Radius Housing

14.45

Chair’s summary and conference close

Sponsorship opportunities

There are a limited number of available sponsorship opportunities at this conference which will be of interest to companies and organisations with products or services they wish to promote. For further information on sponsorship and speaking opportunities and how your organisation can benefit, contact Lynda Millar on 028 9261 9933 or email Lynda.millar@agendani.com.

Conference format

The Northern Ireland Housing Conference 2021 will be using an online platform that will allow speakers and delegates to follow the normal structure of a conference.

This will include:

  • Chair and speakers on screen during the session
  • Speakers will present with slides and video
  • A Q&A session with delegates being able to post questions, moderated by the chair
  • A chat facility for delegates to network and make comments
  • A twitter feed to be visible to all participants
  • A ‘handout’ facility will allow delegates to receive relevant documentation
  • IT support for delegates throughout the event
  • Access to speaker presentations after the conference

Northern Ireland Housing Conference

Registration

Discounted rate for Housing Associations

£ 95
+ VAT @ 20% =£114

Register

Discounted rate for the voluntary / community sector

£ 95
+ VAT @ 20% =£114

Register

Delegate rate

£ 145
+ VAT @ 20% =£174

Register

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