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NIFHA collaborates in the #RuralHomesNI campaign

NIFHA CEO, Ben Collins writes “NIFHA is running in a campaign to promote rural homes, in partnership with the NI Housing Executive and the Rural Community Network, because we recognise how important these homes are to creating and maintaining sustainable rural communities.

Housing associations currently provide over 3,300 properties in rural areas, with another 400 planned over the next three years.

We recently published a research paper entitled Overcoming Barriers to Delivery of the Social Housing Development Programme. By speaking to our own members and the wider construction industry, we identified several barriers and solutions to address them. As a sector we are determined to address these, working in partnership with all levels of government, the wider construction industry and communities to provide the rural homes which are needed.

While we are living in unprecedented times of a COVID-19 pandemic, this does provide us, as a society with the opportunity to do things differently. Thanks to the increase in remote working, there is greater potential now for people to choose to live in rural areas without having to compromise on commuting times or the kind of job they can secure. We are already seeing that  people now want homes with a remote working space and access to green space outside.

While the pandemic will hopefully come to an end at some point in the near future, the change to more flexible and remote working is likely to be more prevalent. Affordable rural homes can create the opportunity for people to remain in their area, and when combined with a step-change in working practices, could open new employment opportunities outside of the towns and cities.  The benefit of affordable homes and greater employment will allow rural communities to grow and areas to thrive.”

Follow the Twitter conversation with the hashtag #RuralHomesNI