As West Yorkshire prepares to choose its first metro mayor, a group of housing associations has today published a prospectus outlining detailed proposals on providing more homes and improving lives across West Yorkshire.
The newly created West Yorkshire Housing Partnership – made up of 10 housing associations based in the region – has pledged to work with the directly elected mayor, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and local authorities to achieve five integrated ambitions that support the devolution deal agreed with the government in March.
As well as building new affordable properties, the group has made suggestions in a range of broad policy areas including regenerating local areas; connecting people to economic opportunity; tackling the climate emergency and fuel poverty; and supporting health, social care, and homelessness.
The document also sets a goal of establishing West Yorkshire as a “standard bearer of inclusion for people from all ethnicities”.
Steve Close, Together Housing chief executive, said: “Devolution offers an exceptional opportunity for the region’s housing organisations to work closely with the metro mayor, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and other partnership organisations to deliver real results.
“These are best achieved by uniting around a set of shared goals.
“The five ambitions we have set for West Yorkshire represent our considered view on what is attainable if we all pull in the same direction.
“West Yorkshire Housing Partnership representatives look forward to discussing our proposals with mayoral candidates and political parties on a strictly non-partisan basis over the coming months.”
Nick Atkin, Yorkshire Housing chief executive, said: “Providing more high quality homes will always be the key driver for housing associations here in West Yorkshire, where we need to build 5,000 additional properties each year to simply meet regional requirements.
“However, our array of services and in-house expertise have a much wider focus.
“Stimulating local regeneration, helping people into work and training, improving health outcomes, and tackling inequalities are amongst the many activities we engage in every day.
“This work makes a huge difference but, by partnering with other major players including the new metro mayor, we can achieve so much more.”
Helen Lennon, Connect Housing chief executive, said: “Housing associations are uniquely close to the communities we serve – our staff listen, learn, and act to address local needs.
“Having the opportunity to work in tandem with the devolved administration led by a directly elected mayor presents a host of exciting possibilities.
“Our partnership of independent housing associations is motivated by a desire to create imaginative and workable policy solutions to benefit people in need.
“West Yorkshire can make real progress under the new governance arrangements, and we want to play a full part in delivering the bright future that lies ahead.”
The inaugural West Yorkshire mayoral election is due to be held on 6 May 2021.
The West Yorkshire Housing Partnership is made up of the following housing associations:
- Accent Housing
- Connect Housing
- Leeds Federated Housing Association
- Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association
- Yorkshire Housing
- Manningham Housing Association
- Together Housing
- Unity Homes & Enterprise
- Wakefield District Housing and Yorkshire Housing
The contribution of housing associations in West Yorkshire:
- Provide 91,463 homes spread across all five districts, including social rent, affordable rent, leasehold and low cost home ownership
- Built 2,100 new affordable homes over the last three years
- Generated turnover of almost £710 million in 2018/19 and reinvested this in the areas we serve – including through local suppliers.
- Employ 3,751 people who live in West Yorkshire and 90 apprentices
- Helped 3,173 West Yorkshire people on employability, skills and inclusion in 2019/20
- Cut carbon emissions through home energy efficiency and generating clean energy
- Apply innovation in housing design and build, ownership and rental models, and schemes that help to combine care needs and independent living
- Deliver disproportionate benefits for deprived areas and BAME communities, reflecting the spread of our housing and our commitment to inclusive growth
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