Cross-community social housing initiative receives £3.5m of EU support
27 October 2010
A new initiative designed to encourage greater levels of social integration within Northern Ireland's housing sector has just been launched with assistance from the EU's PEACE III Programme
The project called 'Putting Good Relations at the Heart of Social Housing' has received a total of £3,522,000 worth of assistance under PEACE III and is being delivered through an innovative partnership approach involving the Rural Development Council (RDC), the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and the specialised training consultancy TIDES.
According to figures from the NIHE, approximately 90% of social housing in Northern Ireland is still segregated into single identity communities. This has created further barriers to effective and long-term social integration and has served to further polarize many communities across the region.
The primary objective for the four year project is to help reverse the history of that trend for segregated social housing, by promoting the idea of good relations and greater levels of community cohesion. The project will achieve this by empowering the NIHE staff to develop a new approach founded on the principles of integration, tolerance and mutual respect.
Pat Colgan, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body welcomed the initiative saying: "The creation of a truly shared society, which embraces diversity and opposes sectarianism, is one of the core objectives of the EU's PEACE III Programme. The 'Putting Good Relations at the Heart of Social Housing' project will help to tackle one of the main obstacles to full integration within our society which has resulted from historic residential segregation. In creating new opportunities to support the development of cross-community housing it will address some of the underlying problems of sectarianism, prejudice and intolerance that exist across the region. Its innovative model of delivery that will place a new and distinctive focus on peace and reconciliation through institutional capacity-building, within a key regional public service organisation will greatly contribute to the promotion of a shared society."
Over a four year period the programme will be delivered through three distinctive and complementary themes. It will deliver a bespoke Good Relations training programme to 80 residents groups from 80 housing estates across Northern Ireland under the theme 'Changing Minds'.
Under the 'Sharing Visions' theme, it will create opportunities that will provide NIHE with the skills to influence the removal and re-imaging of up to two physical interfaces.
Finally, as part of a 'Crossing borders' theme, it will also use a cross-border approach to the analysis of the housing market with a view to facilitate better planning in the border areas. It will explore housing policy on a cross-border housing market delivery model and promote joint government action on cross-border housing issues.
For additional Information contact:
Emília Ferreira / SEUPB
+44 (0)28 9026 6682 / email@example.com