31 January 2019
NI Assembly All Party Group on Housing hears experience of shared housing development
New shared housing developments are having a positive impact on people’s lives. This is the message from the NI Assembly All Party Group on Housing. The group, which is made up of MLAs from all parties, as well as representatives from the wider housing sector, heard from Radius Housing on how shared housing fosters good relations and helps to build and improve community relations.
Shared housing projects are supported by the NI Executive under the Together Building United Communities (T:BUC) strategy, which supports the commitment to improve community relations and build a more united and shared society. Shared housing developments are resourced to develop dedicated good relations plans over five years, with the goal of empowering local tenants to collaborate and lead on community projects.
Speaking after the meeting, Steven Agnew MLA, Vice Chair of the NI Assembly All Party Group on Housing, said: “The aim to build a more inclusive community is extremely important, and housing is an essential part of this work. Shared housing projects are more than the construction of houses; the community cohesion has to be supported so they succeed in the long term. It is clear that the work housing associations are doing to build good relations and strong communities in the wider areas around new shared housing projects is having a positive impact. There remain many challenges for shared housing, but there is certainly determination from those working on these projects to overcome these challenges.”
Grainne Mullin, Community Investment Manager at Radius Housing, who presented to the All Party Group, said: “With the shared housing projects that Radius Housing is delivering, we have already seen the local community buy in to the good relations planning, and the development of tenant-led resident associations to lead on future work. We have been able to develop training and employment programmes, health and wellbeing projects, mentoring, and arts programmes and each of these have positive and tangible benefits for the local people.
“The success of these projects comes from community buy-in and working in partnership with other organisations, including with other housing associations, NIHE and with the Department for Communities, so we can develop good relations plans tailored to each area. With future projects even more extensive and early consultation will help to ensure the expansion and success of the shared housing projects and the wider T:BUC strategy.”