There are resident associations in many communities. These groups work to improve the living situation of residents in the area.
A residents' association is a useful organisation if:
- you are having problems in your area with antisocial behaviour,
- you are looking for funding to improve your area,
- you feel that your landlord isn't listening to your views.
Setting up a residents association
Private tenants or homeowners who live in a residential building or in a housing estate may want to set up their own residents association. Many residents associations in social housing estates are set up by Housing Executive or housing association tenants.
Any group of people living in the same area can set up a residents' association. They can choose:
- who their members will be,
- how they will be represented,
- what they want to achieve.
However, if a group wants to make sure that its views are listened to by other organisations they must be able to show that they are:
- representing the views of their community.
Organisations that can help
You should contact the Housing Executive or Supporting Communities NI if you are thinking about setting up a residents' association. You can get advice on:
- involving the whole community,
- ensuring that your group is representative of your community,
- applying for funding,
- dealing with government agencies.
You want all residents to feel included in your group, so:
- arrange meetings to suit as many members as possible,
- develop an equal opportunities policy,
- translate information and provide signers/interpreters,
- challenge racist, sexist or derogatory remarks,
- avoid using stereotypes,
- give everybody the right to express an opinion and respect their views.
The Housing Executive, Supporting Communities or a local advice agency can help you find a residents association in your area.
Lots of different areas have community groups. These could be tied to a charity or a church or could have been set up by a group of residents who have a common purpose.
These groups often leaflet local residents when they have an open day or event and are always on the lookout for new members. Keep an eye on notice boards in your local school, supermarket or church.