Meeting the Housing Needs of Vulnerable Homeless People in the Private Rented Sector in Northern Ireland

Anna Ellison, Nicholas Pleace, Eric Hanvey

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


It is unlikely that the social housing sector will ever be in a position to meet
future housing need in Northern Ireland. Against the background of a decline in the social housing stock and no realistic prospect of new social housing build on any scale, housing authorities in Northern Ireland, in common with those in England and Scotland, are increasingly looking to the private rental sector (PRS) to meet housing need. The PRS is already a significant source of housing for those on welfare benefits. Evidence from elsewhere in Europe and the US suggests that the PRS can be used effectively to meet the needs of even the most vulnerable homeless, and create sustainable, long term tenancies. This requires a radically different approach which puts the housing solution first with tailored support then based on core principles which are people-centred and needs led. These solutions, known as the “Housing First” model take housing as a basic human right and provide a permanent housing solution as a first step in addressing chronic homelessness, with housing entitlement separate from service development and delivery. Housing is within the PRS on a scattered basis (i.e. not concentrated in a single building or area), with choice and self determination, within a budget, a key part of the concept.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorthern Ireland Housing Executive
Number of pages109
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Homeless Persons
  • private rented housing

Cite this