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Housing Forum to help tackle anti-social behaviour

Eileen Rice and Theresa Sheppard with Liam Wiggins and Gerry O'Reilly at the New Lodge Housing Office Eileen Rice and Theresa Sheppard with Liam Wiggins and Gerry O'Reilly at the New Lodge Housing Office
By Michael Jackson

THE New Lodge Housing Forum (NLHF) is set to host a series of clinics aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour.
From December 4, a Community Safety Officer from Belfast City Council will be on hand each Wednesday to offer advice and support to residents in the area.
The drop-in clinic at the Forum is part of wider efforts to increase reporting of anti-social behaviour.
Speaking to the North Belfast News, NLHF worker Gerry O’Reilly explained: “Following on the success of our clinic that deals with welfare, the chair and the committee have held meetings with representatives from Belfast City Council in regards to dealing with anti-social behaviour.
“Although we are housing body, we would deal with all sorts of different issues. What we are finding is that a fifth of people who are coming through the doors are reporting anti-social behaviour. We have picked up on this and we are working with New Lodge Safer Streets on it.
“We felt that we needed a formal approach in terms of trying to deal with issues, and those issues range from noise nuisances to crowds of youths roaming the area and causing their own particular problems. We’re also working with youth workers who are meeting with young people in regards to what is happening on the streets and to encourage them to use the youth facilities in the area.
“Some of the other issues we’ve been discussing are things like vermin and illegal rubbish dumping. While these clinics won’t be able to deal with that directly, we’ll be able to signpost on to the relevant people in the Council.”
He continued: “We’re going to encouraging people to actually report incidents in the area. Sometimes we get people saying that nothing ever gets done, but things are being done, and what we’re doing here is offering people an opportunity to speak directly to the Council.”
Liam Wiggins, Chair of the New Lodge Housing Forum, added: “It’s also to encourage people to report things to us. People come in on Monday and tell you about something happened on Friday night, which is no good. The advantage we have is that we’re right in the centre of the New Lodge, so you don’t have to go looking for us – everybody knows where we are, so hopefully that will be a positive factor.”

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