Shared Housing Programme

Surveys, such as the Northern Ireland Life and Times, consistently show significant preferences for mixed religion neighbourhoods, however, the majority of social housing estates in Northern Ireland remain segregated in terms of religious background. The Department recognises that the concept of choice is an important one, and it acknowledges that a person’s choice(s) may depend on familial links and/or community connections. Therefore, the Shared Housing Programme is not about forcing people to live in a certain way or in a certain area, but rather to improve the choices that are available by tackling the barriers that prevent individuals from opting to live in shared neighbourhoods.

Together: Building a United Community

The initial programme of 10 shared neighbourhood schemes was supported through the Northern Ireland Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy, which outlines a vision of:

“A united community, based on equality of opportunity, the desirability of good relations and reconciliation - one which is strengthened by its diversity, where cultural expression is celebrated and embraced and where everyone can live, learn, work and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance.”

The Strategy reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society, and it represents a major change in the way that good relations will be delivered across government.

Draft Programme for Government 2016 - 2021

The delivery of shared housing is now an action in the Draft Programme for Government 2016 - 2021, and the Department for Communities is committed to delivering approx. 200 shared social housing units per year as part of the Social Housing Development Programme. The Programme for Government shared housing is badged ‘Housing for All’.

Good Relations

Each shared neighbourhood is supported through the development and delivery of a five-year Good Relations Plan. The Good Relations Plan is managed by the Housing Association developing the shared scheme and it includes ‘bonding’ programmes which are delivered to the new shared neighbourhood residents, and ‘bridging’ programmes which are delivered between the new shared residents and residents from surrounding communities.

Advisory Groups

A key support mechanism to the delivery of the Good Relations Plan is the establishment of an Advisory Group. The Advisory Groups draw membership from the Housing Executive, local Councils’ Good Relations Officers, Community and Voluntary organisations and other statutory bodies.


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