HQN Housing Management Network News

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The Housing Management Network routinely looks over the biggest and most relevant news stories, reports and publications for members, covering the latest updates for everyone working in neighbourhood, tenancy and estate management.

For more expert analysis, briefings and best practice for those involved in the safety of residents and employees, be sure to join the Housing Management Network. You can find out more here.

 

June 2019

Nearly 2,000 domestic abuse survivors a year deemed ‘not vulnerable enough’ for housing help

Through Freedom of Information Act responses from 168 councils, homelessness charity Crisis and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ending Homelessness found that an estimated 1,960 domestic abuse survivors are denied housing assistance because they do not qualify for ‘priority need’.

The report calls for the law to be changed by amending the Domestic Abuse Bill to ensure everyone fleeing domestic abuse is deemed to be in priority need for housing.

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Inquiry launched into long-term delivery of affordable housing

An inquiry into the government’s ability to deliver social and affordable rented housing has been launched by MPs.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee will investigate the adequacy of funding levels, challenges facing different areas of the country, and incentives for councils to stimulate delivery.

Chair of the committee, Clive Betts, said, “The government has accepted that there needs to be much more new housing built each year, but it is possible that only 3% of its target of 300,000 new homes a year will be social homes built by local authorities.

“We have launched this new inquiry to understand how effective the government’s current housing strategy will be in meeting demand for social housing in the long term.”

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Kent tenants cheating others out of homes given chance to avoid punishment in ‘key amnesty’

Tenants across Kent who are illegally cheating others out of a home are being given a chance to change their ways and avoid punishment.

Housing associations and local councils across the county are offering a ‘key amnesty’ to those who are subletting their home without permission or charging other people to live in the property while they stay elsewhere.

During the amnesty, set to run throughout June, tenants who hand in their keys to allow their property to be offered to someone in need will not face prosecution or legal action of any kind.

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Mayor unveils new London Housing Panel

Fifteen leading organisations from across the voluntary and community sectors will form the new independent London Housing Panel – with direct input into mayoral policy.

Established jointly with independent charity Trust for London, the panel builds on work by Sadiq Khan, Deputy Mayor James Murray, and senior City Hall officials meeting with tenants, campaigners and other interested parties, to help inform policy on housing issues including estate regeneration and the government’s recent Social Housing Green Paper.

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ALMOs body appoints tenant as chair

The National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) has appointed a tenant as chair of its board.

Sarita-Marie Rehman-Wall, the former NFA vice chair and a tenant of Nottingham City Homes, is set to be confirmed as head of the representative body’s board at a meeting in June.

She will take over from Hugh Broadbent, chair of Six Town Housing, who stood down in April at the end of his three-year term.

Read more… (registration required)

 

 

Council spend on housing cut in half over past decade, study reveals

The amount of money spent by local authorities on housing and planning has been slashed in half over the past eight years, new analysis of local government spending has found.

According to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the amount of money spent by councils across the UK in 2017/18 on planning, development and housing services was more than 50% lower in real terms than the equivalent spend in 2009/10.

The IFS analysis found that while spend on homelessness services had increased across the period, budgets for housing advice, improving and renewing private sector housing, and the Supporting People programme had fallen by two-thirds.

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May 2019

Digitisation still a challenge for housing associations

A new survey of housing associations has revealed that the sector is lagging behind on digital.

Shedding light on the digitisation of housing associations Capita IT & Networks, in association with Inside Housing, investigated how housing associations were interacting with their customer tenants.

The survey focused on digital trends from both customer experience and a business perspective, with 240 respondents including managers, directors, heads of service and chief executives within housing associations, ALMOs and local authorities.

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Regulator: prospective supported housing providers not budgeting for enough support

Prospective providers of specialised supported housing (SSH) are not budgeting for the support they claim they will provide, the Regulator of Social Housing has said.

In a document advising organisations on how to become a registered provider of social housing, the English regulator said it sometimes finds “a lack of coherence” when organisations apply to provide SSH.

Read more… (registration required)

 

Housing allocation schemes: indirect discrimination

In an important decision for local housing authorities, the Court of Appeal has recently ruled that Hillingdon Council’s housing allocation policy (which prioritised people who had been resident in the local area for ten years) indirectly discriminated against certain protected groups. The policy was therefore unlawful. Michelle Caney examines the ruling.

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Housing association becomes dementia friendly

Dementia has been described as the biggest global challenge facing a generation. Ahead of Dementia Action Week, housing association Housing Plus Group has announced an ambitious target to become one of the region’s most influential Dementia Friends.

The housing and care provider employs more than 600 people in Staffordshire and Shropshire, and the Group aims to ensure that every member of staff has the opportunity to become a Dementia Friend.

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Wall insulation in most Housing Executive homes ‘not up to standard’

Wall insulation in almost two thirds of Housing Executive properties does not comply with current standards, a report has revealed.

Voids or debris were discovered in the cavity between the inner and outer leaf designed to hold insulation and prevent heat loss. Now independent experts have recommended that Northern Ireland’s public housing provider carry out remedial work.

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MHCLG: Tens of thousands to benefit from Integrated Communities Innovation Fund

Sixteen trailblazing projects across the country are set to receive £3m of new funding to support innovative approaches to integration, Communities Minister Lord Bourne has confirmed.

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‘Hunger crisis’ as UK fails its poor

A series of “cruel and harmful” policies is leaving the poorest in society without enough food, according to a Human Rights Watch report. A mixture of “austerity-motivated” welfare cuts since 2010, the rollout of Universal Credit and a failure to act on deteriorating living standards have led to a “hunger crisis”, the group said.

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Homeless people in UK ‘denied social housing as risky tenants’

Housing associations have come under fire for routinely refusing to house homeless people nominated for empty social housing properties, on the grounds that welfare cuts make the poorest prospective tenants too much of a financial risk.

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Diversity in Housing Awards winners announced

11 organisations took home awards at a jam-packed ceremony at Villa Park. The full list of winners can be found here.

 

Scottish councils back plans to force sale of empty homes

The initiative would allow local authorities to put homes which have been vacant for an undue period of time up for sale at public auctions. The Scottish Government has pledged to bring in the powers by 2021.

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Most councils warn benefit freeze will make more people homeless

The Homelessness Monitor: England, published by Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found 90% of councils said the freeze on Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and other benefits means those on the lowest incomes are unable to pay their rent.

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Download The Homelessness Monitor here.

 

Young women ‘unsafe’ under government housing policy

Research from the University of Southampton, published with Young Women’s Trust, shows the system shifts young women towards violence, abuse and discrimination – while keeping some apart from their children.

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Government to fund and speed up vital cladding replacement

Around £200m will be made available to remove and replace unsafe cladding from around 170 privately owned high-rise buildings.

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More than £900m spent on contracted brownfield housing schemes

Housing minister Kit Malthouse says 74% of total spend from the Home Building Fund Long Term Fund will lead to 70,062 housing units.

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Rising knife crime linked to council cuts, study suggests

Councils with large cuts to youth services were more likely to also have seen an increase in knife crime in the area’s police force, research suggests.

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Community action plan targets over 216,000 empty homes

The report urges partnership between community-led projects and central government.

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