Housing Appointments: February round up…

Housing Appointments: February round up…

Rachel Maclean confirmed as new Housing Minister

The appointment of Redditch MP Rachel Maclean as the new Housing Minister was made following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s latest Government reshuffle, which saw Maclean replace Lucy Frazer, who was promoted to culture secretary.

Maclean is the sixth person to hold the role in the past 12 months.

She said of being asked to serve as Minister of State in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: “It’s a real privilege to join the Government and to work with the Levelling Up Secretary on one of the most important issues – housing – facing our nation at this time.

“I want to reassure my constituents that my new role will not affect my work as your MP. I have been a Minister before and continued to deliver for Redditch and the Villages.

“The [Alexandra Hospital] remains my top priority and I won’t stop fighting for more investment and for the return of services to our hospital.”

First elected in 2017 as MP for Redditch, Maclean went on to hold a number of junior ministerial positions, including as Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions, Women and Equalities and the Treasury.

In 2020, Maclean was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport. Following a government reshuffle, she was then appointed as Minister for Safeguarding in the Home Office, where she created the Domestic Abuse Plan and led the modern slavery elements of the Nationality and Borders Act through the House of Commons.

In September 2022, Maclean was then promoted to Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice. As Minister of State for Victims and Vulnerability, she led on preparations for the forthcoming Victims Bill, sentencing, reforms to parole and the criminal law.

Between November 2022 and February 2023, she served as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party.

New Board Chair – Grand Union Housing Group

Grand Union Housing Group has appointed former Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) president Steve Benson as its new Chair of the Board.

He will be replacing Peter Fielder, who has been acting Chair since November, on 1 April. After a period of handover, Peter will step down at the end of June.

Benson has previous experience working with local authorities, housing associations and a homeless charity, Two Saints.

He has served on the boards of a number of housing associations and held a variety of governance roles including at CIH and at Homeless Link, where he currently chairs their governance committee.

Grand Union has homes across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire. They have an £86 million turnover social business with 400 staff.

Benson said of his new role at the 12,500-home landlord: “I’m excited to be taking on this new role at Grand Union Housing Group and have been impressed by everything I’ve seen so far.

“Grand Union is well placed to make a positive impact on the communities we serve, but we’re facing challenging times with the difficult economic environment and cost of living crisis, so it’s never been more important for housing association boards to adopt the right strategies to ensure they achieve their visions and missions, while keeping their values.”

Benson is a permanent replacement for Colin Dennis, who stepped down from the Milton Keynes-based housing association in December.

bpha appoints new CEO

bpha has appointed former One Housing CEO Richard Hill as its next chief executive officer.

Mr Hill will join the housing association in May 2023 following current CEO Kevin Bolt’s retirement.

Prior to his role at One Housing, which he held for over five years, Hill was CEO at Spectrum Housing and has held senior leadership roles at the Homes and Communities Agency and the Housing Corporation.

Richard is also the non-executive Chair of drugs and alcohol rehabilitation charity, Phoenix Futures, and is currently the Vice Chair of the G15 group of housing associations.

Paul Leinster, bpha Chair, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Richard to bpha. He brings extensive knowledge of the sector and is ideally placed to build on the excellent nine-year tenure of our retiring CEO, Kevin Bolt, in leading a successful organisation that is proud to be driven by its social purpose.

“Richard shares the desire of the bpha team to provide excellent, value for money services for our customers, and maintain and develop affordable, energy efficient, sustainable housing into the future.”

Mr Hill said: “I am excited and feel privileged to lead bpha, an excellent organisation that is clearly driven by its core values and social mission. I very much look forward to building on the very firm foundations left by Kevin, and working with customers, the bpha team and our partners, to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges for bpha and our sector over the next few years.”

bpha is a housing association located in the Oxford to Cambridge arc and owns or manages over 19,500 homes.

Black people 70% more likely to be impacted by the housing emergency than white people

Black people 70% more likely to be impacted by the housing emergency than white people

One in  three  adults in Britain (34%)  are now impacted by the housing emergency, with race, disability, sexuality and socio-economic status all barriers in the fight for a safe home.

The figures are revealed in new research by housing and homelessness charity Shelter, who questioned 13,000 people in detail about their home and housing experiences.

Their findings, combined with the latest government data on homelessness, exposes the true extent of the housing emergency. The report, called ‘Denied the Right to a Safe Home’, reveals when children are factored into the results, the number of people affected by Britain’s housing emergency rises to 22 million.

As well as the scale of the crisis, the gross inequality in the housing system is also exposed.

Race: Black people are 70% more likely to be impacted by the emergency than white people; and Asian people are 50% more likely. 1m Black adults (57%) and 1.8m Asian adults (48%) do not have a safe or secure home compared with 33% of white adults.

Disability: 54% of people with a significant disability (1.8m adults) do not have a safe or secure home, compared with 30% of people without a disability.

Single mothers:65% of single mothers (1m adults) do not have a safe or secure home, compared with 37% of two-parent households.

Socio-economic status: Low-income households on less than £20k a year are 70% more likely to be impacted than households earning £40-45k a year. (4.7m adults on a low-income do not have a safe or secure home.)

Sexuality: 40% of gay or lesbian (287,000) and 49% of bisexual people (201,000) are impacted by the emergency, compared with 32% of heterosexual people.

The charity’s research also reveals the biggest issues people face with their housing. 11.8 million people (23%) are living in homes with significant damp, mould and condensation, or that they cannot keep warm in winter. Unaffordability and insecurity are two other key issues; four million people (8%) report regularly cutting back on essential items, like food and heating, to pay their housing costs. And four million people (8%) state they are worried about losing or being asked to leave their current home.

Shelter’s report concludes Britain’s housing system is unaffordable, unfit, unstable and discriminatory – a situation made even worse by the pandemic. To end the escalating housing emergency, it wants the government to build at least 90,000 good-quality social homes a year.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Decades of neglect have left Britain’s housing system on its knees. A safe home is everything, yet millions don’t have one. Lives are being ruined by benefit cuts, blatant discrimination and the total failure to build social homes. 23% are living in homes with significant damp, mould and condensation.

“Shelter believes a safe home is a human right, but the pain and desperation our frontline staff see every day shows this is still a long way off. That’s why we are fighting for the single mum who has to put her child to bed in a room covered in mould, and the disabled man living on the twelfth floor with a broken lift. We are fighting for everyone impacted by the housing emergency – and as we emerge from the pandemic, we want the public and politicians to do the same.”

Find out more about the research and report findings here.

Anchor Hanover chosen for Manchester LGBT+ Extra Care scheme

Anchor Hanover chosen for Manchester LGBT+ Extra Care scheme

England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for people in later life, Anchor Hanover, has been chosen to deliver the UK’s first purpose built and co-produced LGBT+ housing scheme.

The project, in Whalley Range, south Manchester, (the site was formerly a Spire Hospital) will deliver more than 100 apartments for people aged 55 or over, with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures.

Anchor Hanover’s Extra Care housing schemes have essential services on-site for their residents, such as care and catering, which help their communities continue to live independently as their needs and lifestyle change.

The Russell Road facility is being developed in collaboration with a local Community Steering Group – made up of members of the council, councillors, local residents and importantly members of the LGBT Foundation.

Anchor Hanover was selected to develop the scheme after demonstrating their experience in delivering similar projects, including New Larchwood, an LGBT+ inclusive retirement housing scheme in Brighton, and showed an ambition to create a facility that meets the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people in Manchester.

Subject to Anchor Hanover Board approval, the organisation will invest approximately £20m to develop the facility.

Anchor Hanover currently has 110 housing locations in Greater Manchester as well as a large programme of retirement developments across England.

The housing provider’s head of new business, Charles Taylor, said: “We’re delighted to be working on this innovative new Extra Care retirement housing project in Manchester, to deliver accessible homes in a place where there is a thriving LGBT+ community.

“We look forward to collaborating with Manchester City Council and the LGBT Foundation to develop a place where people can continue to love living in later life.”

Manchester’s older LGBT+ population is growing. There are more than 7000 people in Manchester over the age of 50 that identify as LGBT+ and this figure is expected to rise over the next two decades.

An LGBT Foundation report, commissioned by Manchester City Council, indicated higher levels of loneliness and isolation amongst LGBT+ older people, experience and fear of discrimination in existing accommodation and a desire for affordable, accessible LGBT+ specific accommodation where they can be open about their identity in later life.

Paul Martin OBE, CEO of the LGBT Foundation added: “It’s fantastic to see the LGBT Extra Care Scheme move forward into the next stages of development. Everyone deserves access to safe, affordable housing where they can be sure they feel secure and welcome.

“Many older LGBT people have grown up in a world hostile to their identities, and are worried about their future, particularly if they are likely to require care in later life.

“This scheme is a vital and exciting step forward for our communities and the Learning Journal will track our journey and share recommendations for other schemes that will follow.”

An online Learning Journal has been created to track the journey of the development of Manchester’s LGBT+ Extra Care scheme, starting from the early discussions over five years ago.

It’s hoped that the journal will give other regions an insight into what has worked and what can be done differently as they plan their own housing solutions for older LGBT people.

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City council’s lead member for adult health and well-being, said: “Manchester was proud to be the first place in the country to announce such a scheme so it’s great to see this scheme come to fruition. Our ambition came on the back of years of research and engagement with older LGBT+ people.

“We’ve been working closely with the LGBT Foundation and local people for some time to ensure the site, location, the principles of the scheme, and eventual design principles work – both for the LGBT+ community, but also for the local people in Whalley Range.

“We already know LGBT+ people are more likely to be lonely later in life, and as this community is growing, it shows that this extra care is not only welcome but absolutely needed.”

One Housing and Countryside partner for 700-home Camden regeneration project

One Housing and Countryside partner for 700-home Camden regeneration project

G15 housing association One Housing has announced home builder Countryside as a preferred development partner for the Camden Goods Yard regeneration project.

Subject to formalising contracts, One Housing has selected Countryside to enter into a 50:50 joint venture partnership. It will see the housing provider and home builder jointly planning, designing, funding and delivering a comprehensive regeneration of Gilbeys Yard and Juniper Crescent estates in Camden. The project is subject to a positive resident ballot and is planned over an eight-year period.

Juniper Crescent and Gilbeys Yard are located either side of Morrisons supermarket behind the Stables Market in Camden.

Currently, 202 homes are provided but the scheme will look to deliver around 650-700 units including new homes for the current residents.

Resident engagement has been made an an integral part of the regeneration project, with a resident steering group part of the procurement team to select the joint venture partner. Residents will also be provided with a landlord offer prior to a ballot in March 2020 to decide on the future of their estates.

Mike Johnson, group director of development, One Housing said: “Following a rigorous procurement process, we are looking forward to working with Countryside, our residents and the London Borough of Camden to deliver this project.

“Countryside share our commitment to providing high quality new homes. We were also impressed by their approach to resident engagement and their ability to demonstrate that they could deliver on added social value and community benefits.”

Andy Fancy, managing director, partnerships South (North and South), Countryside, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with One Housing on this landmark mixed-use regeneration scheme in the heart of Camden.

“We are looking to deliver more than three times as many high-quality homes including affordable homes as well as ensuring that local residents benefit from attractive public open spaces and crucial local amenities – all vital in creating sustainable communities.”

Monika Petrasova, on behalf of the Residents Steering Group said: “We have been pleasantly surprised by the level of involvement in the regeneration project from the start. We were part of the moderation meeting, which has never happened before, and we also marked all the tender submissions”.

Catalyst Housing Ltd to partner TfL for 100 per cent affordable homes scheme in Harrow

Catalyst Housing Ltd to partner TfL for 100 per cent affordable homes scheme in Harrow

Transport for London has selected Catalyst Housing Ltd as its preferred bidder to deliver around 450 homes in Harrow, all of which will be affordable.

The project will see three car parks developed in the borough to deliver the new homes, with the sites being brought forward using the Greater London Authority’s ‘London Development Panel 2’ (LDP2).

Catalyst will start detailed designs and will consult the local community before a planning application is submitted in 2019/20. The housing association, which is a member of the G15 group, has more than 21,000 homes in London and the South East.

Ian McDermott, chief executive of Catalyst said: “Catalyst is pleased to have been selected by TfL as its partner on the first opportunity to come through the London Development Panel 2 since its creation.

“All three of these schemes will provide 100% genuinely affordable housing for Londoners, and we are really looking forward to working with TfL and Harrow Council to create these new, vibrant communities.”

The three car park sites in the scheme are located at Canons Park Underground Station, Rayners Lane Underground Station and Stanmore Underground Station. TfL plans to retain commuter car parking at the three sites along with the new homes. Plans also include improvements to the localities including new trees and enhanced pedestrian and cycling connectivity.

TfL will also work with the London Borough of Harrow and local stakeholders to improve the step free access at Stanmore station.

Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, added: “We’re delighted to have appointed Catalyst as our partner and look forward to working with them to deliver hundreds of affordable homes at these prime locations next to Tube stations.

“This is another important milestone in our programme across the capital that is delivering thousands of new affordable homes, creating thousands of new jobs and generating vital revenue to reinvest in the transport network.”

Harrow tradition

Councillor Keith Ferry, deputy leader of Harrow Council, said: “Our community is crying out for affordable homes for Harrow people – so we are delighted to welcome TfL’s plans to build a better Harrow.

“Our borough was born out of the need for new homes for hardworking people near railway links – and we are pleased to see that tradition continue today.”

LDP2 enables TfL to bring sites forward with a partner who has a proven track record of delivering housing on public sector land. This new London Development Panel replaces the first LDP, which expired in 2017.

TfL has a programme in place that will see it develop 300 acres to deliver more than 10,000 homes across London. It has already submitted planning applications for more than 4,200 homes, and since May 2016, 50 per cent of its homes have been affordable.