A recent Inside Housing article has described how a law firm has warned buyers about affordable housing being included in a new housing development. This has quite rightly been slammed by Wales’ housing and local government minister, Julie James, for creating “negative connotations” about mixed communities.
Following this, I wanted to try to restore the balance and highlight some of the benefits that housing associations (HAs) bring to our communities. I also wanted to debunk some of the myths and fears that, evidently, still surround HAs and their tenants.
So, here are my top 6 things you need to know about HAs.
First and foremost, they are responsible landlords! They look after their tenants and their properties, often to a greater degree than individual private sector landlords.
They actively engage with their residents, whether it be from helping tenants learn IT skills or organising family fun days and Christmas parties. The point is they care about their tenants and their interests.
They DO NOT just offer housing to those who are on housing benefit, or the unemployed. In fact, only 8% of economically active social renters are unemployed, similar to the numbers found in private renting (6%)*.
They support our ageing population. 28% of social tenants are over 65, compared with 8% of private renters*.
They are addressing our housing need! In Wales, they are targeted with building 20,000 homes by 2021 to satisfy the rising demand for new homes. (Find out more about the sector’s targets here).
They are leaders in their fields, in terms of building quality homes. They are already creating future-proof homes, through innovative, sustainable developments, and they are investing in modern methods of construction.
It is not acceptable that HAs and their tenants are in some circumstances still being stigmatised through a lack of understanding.
It’s time to stop being afraid of HAs, embrace them and recognise their importance in today’s communities.
Go on, I dare you..!
*Statistics as cited in the Guardian article.