28 Sep 2023

Social housing in Northern Ireland remains significantly segregated based on religious background and as a result this limits the living options open to people across the region.

The Shared Housing Programme was set up to improve the choices available to tenants and to tackle barriers that are currently preventing individuals from opting to live in shared neighbourhoods. These particular schemes are supported through the Northern Ireland Executives’ Together: Building a United Community Strategy.

 The Housing for all Programme is currently being delivered across 11 social landlords in Northern Ireland, with 6 out of the 11 shared housing schemes delivered by Choice Housing. The association has further plans to grow this provision annually.

Each shared housing development is supported with a Good Relations Plan to ensure successful integration of the new community. 

This year Good relations Officers from Choice Housing delivered a ‘Participatory Budget Programme’ at a number of locations. The programme invites local groups to submit proposals for funded programmes that would benefit the local community.

An example of this is in the small town of Saintfield, Co Down where four local projects were awarded £1K each to deliver their proposed project, all aimed at developing strong community relations and delivering for the local people. The decision-making process was carried out through a voting system and was decided entirely by local people who came to hear about the projects plans for the community.

  • The Monday Social Group
  • Saintfield Community Association
  • Saintfield Men’s Shed
  • Little Sunbeams Pre-School & Playgroup

The projects will use their funding to provide community led initiatives, such as securing pre-school provision in the local area and enhancing health and well-being for men in the community.

“A key element of this programme is ensuring that community funding is allocated based on need of the local community and who is better placed to deliver this than local community groups and residents themselves.

Mark Kent, Choice Housing’s Good Relations Officer