NIFHA is the lead partner in this £925,000 PEACE IV initiative, funded by the Special EU Programmes Body. Four housing associations – Apex, Choice, Clanmil and Radius – as well as TIDES Training and Consultancy and the Irish Council for Social Housing. The project seeks to promote good relations by linking social housing tenants from a range of religious and cultural backgrounds to address common issues, with a view to building coalitions of interest, joint working practices, capacity and understanding.
The nine neighbourhoods involved in this first stage of the project are geographically spread across the region from County Donegal through to Bessbrook in County Armagh. Project staff are currently finalising the selection of the other 31 neighbourhoods that will be introduced in a phased approach for inclusion on the project over the summer months of 2018.
The Good Relations Officers are busy on the ground, getting to meet local tenants and building up their understanding of the key issues facing that community. The information that is gathered during the community audit stage of the project provides the project team with invaluable data enabling the tailoring of project activities specific to that neighbourhood as part of the stage 2 community capacity building stage.
The early focus of the project has been in building a strong foundation and framework to ensure that the project moves forward in an effective and efficient way. The Project has a 3-tier governance structure to oversee the strategic and operational delivery of the project.
The Project Steering Committee currently has 9 members representing the project partners, Community Relations Council, NIHE and Irish Council for Social Housing. This committee provides specific focus on the monitoring and scrutiny of project activities with committee members drawing on their experience to provide strategic guidance for the project.
The Project Board level comprises project partners that are employing project staff members and have an operational role in the project delivery. The project staff team have now been fully recruited and provide that grassroots insight into the actual delivery of project activities on the ground within the target housing developments.
All 3 tiers are now fully functioning and meeting on a regular basis providing a wealth of experience and expertise to assist in the successful implementation of the Housing Association Integration Project.