Our History

For many, mentioning the 1960’s invokes images of Flower Power, the Beatles and a man walking on the Moon.

But in Northern Ireland, it was a decade marked by huge political turbulence.

A key demand of the Civil Rights Association was improvement in the provision of housing.

Protestors took to the streets to air long-held grievances about poor housing conditions and housing administration.

In mid-1969, violence exploded in Derry-Londonderry and in Belfast, whole streets of houses were burned to the ground.

Almost 2,000 families were displaced and hundreds of homes were destroyed in the biggest forced movement of people that Europe had seen since World War Two.

Interfaces and peace walls emerged where none had been before. Northern Ireland was divided like never before.

In February 1971, the Housing Executive Act became law and by October 1972, we had assumed all local housing functions, removing responsibility from over 60 local councils.

We were charged with addressing long-standing concerns about housing and we soon set to work. 

A new Housing Allocations System for social housing was set in place, based solely - on - need and with a points system to ensure fairness and equality.

Targets included building new homes, improving existing housing estates, undertaking research and providing advice and information to tenants.

In 1974, the first house conditions survey painted a bleak picture, with 20% of local homes unfit for habitation, rising to 25% in the city of Belfast.

As the Troubles continued, the Housing Executive was not immune to violence, with staff and offices occasionally attacked as law and order crumbled.

Despite the difficulties, a new build programme soon got underway and by 1996, 80,000 homes had been built across Northern Ireland.

Quality family homes would be the mark of this era - a stark contrast to the high and medium rise housing of the 1960’s, which had caused deep dissatisfaction.

Housing that was unfit for habitation would soon be fully renovated, or demolished.

Renovation grants were also extended to the private sector and by 2016 housing unfitness levels had tumbled to an all-time low.

Today, we continue to care for around 86,000 homes across Northern Ireland and we work with partners in local government, councils and housing associations to deliver new-build accommodation of excellent, modern standard.

We assist with housing adaptations for those living with a disability and fund community impact projects across Northern Ireland to improve local cohesion and foster vibrant communities.

In 2018, we allocated 7,300 homes and fitted 8,000 new kitchens and heating systems in our properties.

Over 160m pounds was spent on more than 360,000 repairs and our latest tenants’ survey showed an overall satisfaction rate of 89%.

We’ve also delivered social enterprise grant funding, to help build grassroots businesses - increasing employment at the heart of our communities and helping our tenants pay their rents.

Whatever changes the future brings, the core values of the Housing Executive – fairness, equality and accountability - will be protected.

It was in this spirit that the Housing Executive began and these principles will guide us forward into the future.


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Our Performance
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