The chief executive of housing association WDH, Andy Wallhead has been appointed as the new chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership (WYHP).
Wallhead will act as a “key figurehead” for the partnership, which has 15 members and was formed as a collaborative effort to deliver more and better social housing for communities across the region.
He has taken over as chair from Helen Lennon, chief executive of Connect Housing, while Nick Atkin, chief executive of Yorkshire Housing, remains as vice-chair.
Wallhead said: “I am delighted to be appointed chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership and look forward to continuing to work closely with colleagues from across the region to keep pushing housing as a key priority.
“Working in partnership, we can ensure we use our collective influence to benefit the communities we serve.”
Wallhead has worked in housing, regeneration and development for over 30 years, and has been chief executive of WDH since 2019.
He says he has enjoyed spending his working career within his home region of Yorkshire, working mainly within the Wakefield district for many years, with 12 years spent as a corporate director, and then interim chief executive at Wakefield Council.
Last week, he chaired a meeting with West Yorkshire mayor, Tracy Brabin, as the WYHP set out its top priorities for 2024 as part of its updated prospectus. This document details how housing associations will work with the mayor and West Yorkshire Combined Authority to unlock the region’s true potential by maximising the benefits offered by devolution.
Since the West Yorkshire devolution deal in 2020, the WYHP has taken up what it says is an unprecedented opportunity to deliver over 2,000 “affordable homes” – and plans are underway for 3,592 more.
This is in direct response to the shortage of affordable homes, with around 90,000 households across West Yorkshire currently on council waiting lists for housing. Rising costs, high inflation and soaring energy bills have also made it even more challenging for many people to find a place that they can afford to call home.
The WYHP’s prospectus acts as a starting point around how it can deliver more change, and it is based around five key priorities. These include building affordable homes; improving existing homes; tackling the climate emergency; connecting health, housing and homelessness; and investing in inclusive communities.
These five ambitions will work together to contribute to the region’s vision for providing a sustainable future that benefits all West Yorkshire’s diverse communities.
Main image: Andy Wallhead, new chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership, with West Yorkshire mayor, Tracy Brabin
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