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Social housing investment in communities: Housing Plus The NIHE Perspective John McPeake Chief Executive, NIHE.

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Presentation on theme: "Social housing investment in communities: Housing Plus The NIHE Perspective John McPeake Chief Executive, NIHE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social housing investment in communities: Housing Plus The NIHE Perspective John McPeake Chief Executive, NIHE

2 Overview What is Housing Plus? Why is HP important? –Housing Plus in the context of the Social Housing Reform Programme –The need for Housing Plus Some local examples –NIHE –Housing Associations Housing Plus – some questions to think about Conclusions

3 What is “Housing Plus?” HP is about improving estate facilities & addressing economic / social problems faced by residents Common themes: –provision of non-housing infrastructure –community development & community services –environmental improvement & regeneration –skills, training and employment related services Most schemes are about more than bricks and mortar The best are about improving quality of life / life chances –it is the impact of services rather than infrastructure that matters But –many landlords did this sort of work before it was branded HP –many see it is integral to their offering; not a bolt on

4 Housing Plus in the Context of the Social Housing Reform Programme SHRP signals radical change, including –a new Regional Housing Body –new landlord off the public balance sheet structure(s) which have greater freedoms than public bodies Rationale for new landlord structures –access to private money for investment –ability to be more than just a landlord With new landlord structures –more can be done to transform life chances / generate employment etc. –as consequence, landlord’s job easier (improved rent collection; reduced arrears; reduced repair requests) –the move to Universal Credit may create new HP opportunities

5 The need for “Housing Plus” Successive studies over 40 year period identify the same broad areas of multiple deprivation –principally NIHE housing estates NIHE stock is highly residualised (and segregated) –high levels of economic inactivity & benefit dependency –low income –intergenerational poverty The longevity of this pattern indicates traditional approaches are not sufficient –housing Plus gives us a possible way out of the pattern –it should be a big selling point under the SHRP agenda

6 NIHE Example of Housing Plus Strathroy Enterprise Units, Omagh Partnership project with local community & LA Conversion of former DLO depot into business units, to be managed by Strathroy Community Enterprises –7 units for local start-ups; targeting unemployment –facilitate regeneration through participation and involvement –stimulate and encourage investment –provide opportunities for the unemployed and economically marginalised –Re-establish civic pride in the locality The important issues are –the employment & services facilitated –the spin off benefits

7 Transformation of a derelict former DLO depot from this … … and this …

8 … to this 57 employees; Annual profits £17K which is disbursed amongst other community service providers. Plan to add 4 new units; business case in development. 7 new units providing 3,500 sq feet of floor space. Opened in Units have been continuously occupied since, no small achievement in a challenging economic environment

9 NIHE Example of Housing Plus Stewartstown Road Regeneration Project Interface location characterised by years of intercommunity distrust, violence and confrontation. Turnaround began 1997 with NIHE economic appraisal in conjunction with the 2 local communities. SRRP estab as jointly owned company whose purpose was to bring the two communities together through a regeneration-based programme of new community-owned and private sector commercial developments.

10 This was LiDL’s 2 nd store in Ireland, but with a focus on underserved markets the location was perfect for them. The construction phase included a local labour clause and on completion the shop employs 20 local people. The store is LiDL’s busiest in NI. The community facility includes commercial and retail use on the ground floor. These subsidise a range of community services delivered from the building. >90 people employed in the complex. NIHE Example of Housing Plus Stewartstown Road Regeneration Project

11 NIHE Examples It is NOT the infrastructure that is important in these two examples Rather, the important issues are: –the services facilitated by the infrastructure, and the direct and indirect employment created –the wider community benefits that stem from tenants / residents feeling more positive about where they live –the indirect benefits to the landlord (both schemes delivered reduced relet times and reduced ASB) The real “trick” in HP is delivering such outcomes without the need for large scale capital investment

12 Apex Group HA Example of Housing Plus Background Apex –Group structure HA –Approx 4,000 dwellings; 570 staff –Primary focus is housing support and care Range of HP initiatives –some focused on sustaining tenancies (Affordable Credit project; Debt advice) –some on specific client groups (e.g. Getting on Well project; Staying Connected project) –some on wider community issues or infrastructure requirements (Glen Community project) Specific example – Financial inclusion project in Cornshell Field estate, Derry/Londonderry

13 Apex Group HA Example of Housing Plus Cornshell Fields Financial Inclusion Information & advice –Make your money go further Train the Trainer for Tenants –Money information events Families –Looking at money differently Young People –Learning to help others & life skills Community Organisations & Representatives (to enable them to deliver training in their communities

14 Apex Group HA Example of Housing Plus Cornshell Fields Financial Inclusion Practical support –Tenant Debt Advice Service Housing Rights Service –Basic Bank Accounts First Trust Bank –Low Cost Loans Credit Union & Ulster Bank Supported by the Consumer Council –Pre-Owned Furniture Packages Foyle Hospice

15 Triangle HA Example of Housing Plus Progression to Employment Triangle Housing Association –700 stock; strong focus on supported housing Progression to employment service (since 1998 ) –focus on individuals whose ability precludes them from more mainstream govt support programmes –301 participants; 150 different employers –two strands Supported employment model Alternative Angles

16 Triangle HA’s Alternative Angles Programme

17 Social enterprise training and work placement programme for disabled persons –established 2006 –funded via ESF, DEL and local Health Trust, with Triangle –participants have period of intensive support 10% are tenants of the HA; 90% wider community –range of products and services provided during the training period (e.g. candles, soap, electronic-conference badges) High level of success in job placement –almost 100% of participants end up with temporary or permanent paid work (typically <16hrs pw) –HA continues to support participant in workplace –evaluation results demonstrate positive impact on confidence, motivation and skills

18 Housing Plus Some questions to think about –Can HP simply remain a “bolt on” or does it need to be part of the DNA? –How much does HP cost and how will it be paid for? –Is welfare reform a reason to “do” HP or not to “do” HP? –What are the risks and are they worth it? –What are the governance issues? How can they be addressed? –Have associations and their boards got the right skills to deliver HP? –Can associations do it alone? How can they develop more effective partnerships? –Can the expectations be met? Are they realistic? Do tenants expect too much already? –Is there a conflict between being commercial and delivering HP? Does HP make economic sense? Can it deliver VFM?

19 Conclusions In our context Housing Plus is VITAL, however: –it is challenging; and –It should not be embarked upon lightly But –the rewards are potentially significant; –especially when associations see HP as the way we do business as opposed to something we also do Thus HP is likely to challenge Boards to: –review their business models –be prepared to take more risk This will also bring (not insurmountable) challenges to: –the regulator –the funders Remember Hunter S Thompson’s famous words –“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.”


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