Delivering housing services to all sections of the community

The Housing Executive was established at the height of the Troubles to bring an impartial, fair and unbiased approach to dealing with housing.

 

Throughout the conflict, the organisation has continued to deliver housing services based on need to all sections of the community regardless of religion, political belief, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or race.

But, 17 years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed social housing in Northern Ireland remains deeply segregated. Over 90 per cent of social housing areas remain segregated into predominantly single communities, with the highest in urban areas in Belfast, Derry-Londonderry and Craigavon. This increases to 94 per cent in Belfast.

However, despite that reality of physical separation, 80 per cent of people aspire to live in mixed neighbourhoods (Life and Times survey) but are unaware of how to go about creating a shared atmosphere.

The Housing Executive has a duty to ensure that housing is provided on the basis of need and undoubtedly segregation places pressure on the best use of existing housing and land. It is within this context that good relations has become a key objective of the organisation.

In 2004, the first Community Relations Strategy was published making explicit commitment within the functions of the Housing Executive’s business to promote good relations and incorporate race relations.

The organisation has launched its Community Cohesion Strategy 2015-2020, underpinning its overarching aims and objectives and building upon its achievements of the last 10 years.

The Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion Unit is charged with translating the community relations objectives into actions on the ground through its latest strategy, which will be delivered across five themes:

•   Residential segregation/integration

•   Flags, emblems, sectional symbols

•   Race relations

•   Interfaces

•   Communities in transition

All work undertaken through the strategy will reflect the overall aims of OFMDFM’s Together: Building a United Community (TBUC) strategy.

The Housing Executive’s Head of Communities, Jennifer Hawthorne, said:

“Good relations is not a new concept to the Housing Executive and we have a wealth of experience dealing with these issues. It is timely to reflect on the cohesion work we have undertaken and ensure our strategy is fit for purpose in the coming years.

“We will deliver this strategy and continue to build on our strong track record and strive for excellence within the fields of statutory provision and promotion of community cohesion.

“This strategy demonstrates our commitment to challenging a segregated society and promotes an ethos of respect, equity and trust for everyone.”

 

Housing Executive

The Housing Centre, 2 Adelaide Street

Belfast, BT2 8PB

Tel: 03448 920 900

Email: Info@nihe.gov.uk

Web: www.nihe.gov.uk

Twitter: @nihecommunity

 

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