Dispelling myths in East Belfast

Published: Mon, 27 Oct 2014
The event was jointly organised by the East Belfast Community Development Agency and the Round Tower Project
East Belfast racism seminar
We deal with the myths about racism in east Belfast
Staff from our South and East Belfast Office stepped forward to help to dispel the myths around social housing and ethnic minorities at a conference on Friday 24th October 2014.
Racism in East Belfast: Myths and Realities was jointly organised by the East Belfast Community Development Agency and the Round Tower Project and funded by the Policing and Community Safety Partnership.
Hosted by Tracey Magee (UTV) a range of statutory organisations set out their response to a range of issues raised by the local community following the increase in racist attacks in the area.
Linda Hutchinson, our Race Relations Officer explained “We are aware of the myths out there and it is important that people have the facts. It is simply not true that migrants are taking all the Housing Executive houses. In fact the vast majority of migrants are living in private rented accommodation as they are able to get furnished accommodation quickly in their area of choice, normally close to the main sources of employment. Less than 1.3% of our properties have migrant worker tenants.
"Our Housing Selection Scheme is designed to ensure a fair and equitable service is delivered based on housing need. Our allocation policy does not discriminate on grounds of race or ethnicity. All applicants for social housing complete the same application form and their housing needs and situation are assessed using the published points based Housing Selection Scheme. People do not get any additional points based on race, Nationality or ethnicity.
"Another myth is that Asylum seekers get a free house and move to the front of the queue but actually Asylum seekers are not entitled to social housing. No Asylum Seekers are housed in Housing Executive properties.”
Attending this event is part of a wide range of initiatives that we support to build better race relations across its estates and properties.
Other speakers included representatives from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, the Department for Employment and Learning, the Department for Social Development (Social Security Agency) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.