Yorkshire housing associations join Homes at the Heart campaign

Social Housing (Demo)

Two Yorkshire housing providers have declared their support for the national Homes at the Heart campaign, calling for greater investment in social housing.

The Homes at the Heart campaign, launched back in June, is being led by the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Crisis, the Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of ALMOs, and is currently undergoing its third week of action.

The campaign seeks to pressure the government to put greater investment and support into social housing ahead of its Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) this autumn.

Supporters of the campaign argue that placing social housing at the heart of the country’s COVID-19 recovery will create jobs, boost the economy and reduce pressure on the NHS.

Nick Atkin, chief executive of Yorkshire Housing said: “Yorkshire Housing fully supports the #HomesAtTheHeart campaign. With COVID-19 having a huge impact on the economy and unemployment rising fast, the provision of social and affordable housing needs to be top of the agenda.

“It’s clear that the social housing sector offers ready-made and proven solutions for a government looking to build, build, build as part of generating an economic stimulus. This campaign highlights how housing associations can be major players in providing much-needed homes across the country, tackling the housing crisis whilst also helping to drive the economic recovery.”

Housing associations built over a quarter of all homes in England last year, adding an estimated £2.4 billion to the national economy and supporting over 43,500 jobs, campaigners say.

Yorkshire Housing plans to build 8,000 new homes by 2030 with a focus on homes for rent and low-cost ownership. South Yorkshire Housing Association, meanwhile, has created over 300 new homes in the Sheffield City Region over the last two years.

The pair recently partnered with three other housing associations including Great Places Housing Group to create the joint venture Forge New Homes, which aims to increase the supply of new affordable homes across the Sheffield City Region.

Tony Stacey, chief executive of South Yorkshire Housing Association, added: “We also use innovation to create new ways to empower people to live well; for example, we know our fantastic Housing First Rotherham project works, and learning from this service can be used to work with people affected by homelessness as we come out of lockdown.

“Our skills, knowledge and partnerships can create new ways of working – like our Forge New Homes joint venture, which we’re part of alongside Yorkshire Housing and three other housing associations. We’re using our knowledge, skills and resources to build more high-quality new homes in Sheffield City Region, and to use profits to build more local affordable housing.

“Investing in housing associations builds homes and communities where people can really settle and flourish.”

The Homes At The Heart campaign resumed on social media this week. It now lists over 50 national and regional organisations as supporters including the Local Government Association, the Royal Town Planning Institute and NatWest.

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