We’re working with some of the best organisations across the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland through Techies in Residence. We asked each of them their views on why they got involved in the project, and what they want to get out of it.

Tell us a little about your organisation.

Housing Rights mission is to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems in Northern Ireland. In addition to our advice and advocacy work, we undertake training, information and policy work to try to improve conditions for those living in poor, unaffordable or unsustainable housing.

What do you hope to achieve from the Techies in Residence Programme?

We hope the Techies in Residence Programme will allow us explore new ways of working and presenting our advice information to help us reach more people to achieve our mission.

What challenge is your organisation trying to address?

Issues in the private rented sector are among the top 3 reasons for people in Northern Ireland becoming homeless. Many tenants have little to no knowledge or understanding of their rights and responsibilities. This can exacerbate problems and eventually lead to homelessness. By raising awareness of tenants rights and responsibilities we believe that many of the issues that tenants experience could be resolved before they reach a crisis point, helping more private renters to sustain their home in the private rented sector.

What’s the largest impact that Techies in Residence will have on your organisation?

This project marks a different way for Housing Rights to communicate and engage with a target audience. Although we have an advice website, it very large, very comprehensive and covers all housing tenures and issues.

In developing this project with ZooCreative, we are concentrating on one area, the Private Rented Sector. We are following a very user focused approach when planning the design of the site, the content that will be included on it and eventually the awareness campaigns that will be built around it. We are learning to deliver smaller, understandable advice and information, in more accessible way. This is a significant shift in our style of working and will help us to make our services more accessible. We hope the lessons learned working on this project will help us be more innovative in developing our other areas of work.

The Techies in Residence programme is an initiative of Social Innovation NI, managed by the Building Change Trust, which in turn has been funded by Big Lottery Fund and also Comic Relief. Innovate NI have been appointed by the Trust as Managing Agent for the ongoing development and delivery of Techies in Residence.