"Supporting couples who are united in love across traditional Christian divisions and promoting acceptance of these relationships within Northern Ireland society"

Where you live is a key decision for people in a mixed relationship and in a segregated Northern Ireland this can cause difficulties. NIMMA has long campaigned for safe and shared housing for people in mixed marriages.

More than 90% of social housing areas are segregated into single identity communities. Yet the 2010 Life and Time Survey which found that 82 per cent of respondents would prefer to live in a mixed neighbourhood. The environment of conflict and division has resulted in statutory housing services adapting to literally serve two seperate communities. NIMMA have worked with the NI Housing Executive (NIHE) in support of shared neighbourhoods and shared housing programmes.These are not estates specifically for mixed marriage couples, but they are estates where the people who live in them want to live in a mixed area.

NIMMA has joined a government departmental committee designed to help ensure the smooth set up of ten new-built shared social housing neighbourhoods in the Province. There are nearly 50 established shared neighbourhoods across the country, and the new group seeks to promote mixed housing as part of the government’s ’ Together Building a United Community (TBUC) ’ initiative. This is a £20 million two year project to provide homes in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Down. All allocations in TBUC schemes will be made according to the housing need of applicants on the waiting list for these homes. The schemes will be built and managed by local Housing Associations who have been tasked to deliver the TBUC shared new build programme.

The group of housing, community and statutory experts who have been selected to oversee the housing element of TBUC has been set up specifically to advise and guide the department on how best to tackle the range of problems that often face the establishment of such neighbourhoods.


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The Good Friday Agreement states that that people should be able to choose where they wanted to live without intimidation. 90% of NI estates are segregated on religious grounds, however the vast majority of people in the Life and Times survey expressed the view that they wished to live in mixed communities.NIMMA have supprted the NIHE Shared Future Housing Programme which helps find a safe place to live for those in mixed relationships.

A by-product of the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland has been a rise in the number of mixed marriages between Catholics and Protestants. It is estimated that about one in 10 of all marriages in Northern Ireland are now mixed. In the past, mixed marriages had been easier for couples who could afford to buy a new home and so to live in a more integrated, "safer" area.The reality is that segregated housing has been a major obstacle to mixed marriage in N I..

The Institute of Conflict Research report on Mixed Residential Communities in Northern Ireland, published in 2006, makes interesting reading. The study includes the views of those living in mixed housing areas and reflects on the high levels of segregation as well as how mixed housing and integration works, including the role of leadership and shared spacecovering the full range of daily living activities.

Further information on housing issues and segregation in Northern Irealand is available though our housing links section.

Segregated Housing

In Northern Ireland segregated housing causes particular difficulties for couples in a mixed relationship. Many couple find it difficult to find a safe place to live. At NIMMA, we have been contacted by many couples who have experienced intimidation or who are unable to find a safe area to start a home or raise a family.

Influencing Housing Policy

n the past and in the interest of fairness of allocation, applicants for housing have had to state their religious affiliation as Roman Catholic/Protestant/ Other.

NIMMA has successfully lobbied and worked with the NIHE to include the option for housing applicants to identify their preference for mixed housing.

NIMMA continues to influence housing agencies for the needs of mixed couple to be addressed through increased housing in mixed areas. The need now is even greater than before as mixed social housing is limited in availability and many couples who would previously have purchased a home in the private sector are finding this is no longer an option due to high house prices.

BRIC initiative

BRIC is a partnership initiative designed which encourages greater levels of social integration within Northern Ireland’s housing sector Find out more about 'building relationships in communities'