Think-Tank Partners BMENational in Major Research
Published by Dawn Prentice for Dawn Prentice Communications in Communities and also in Care and Support, Education, Environment, Health, Housing
Birmingham-based think-tank, the Human City Institute is partnering BMENational, the representative body for 65 black and minority ethnic housing organisations, in a major, national research project. The project – called ‘Deep Roots, Diverse Communities, Dedicated Service’ – aims to provide an up-to-date picture of the BME housing sector in the UK against the backdrop of a rapidly changing operating environment. Due to be completed in the autumn, the research will provide BMENational with a strong and contemporary evidence base including the characteristics of the BME housing sector and the views of residents and stakeholders.
HCI Director Kevin Gulliver said: “We are pleased to be undertaking this research with BMENational, which does a very important job in multi-ethnic communities in our large cities and towns. The research will be extensive and cover a review of the BME housing sector’s legacy over more than forty years, a ‘shape of the sector’ study, a large survey of BME residents and resident focus groups. It will also cover consultation with other housing associations, local authorities, regulators and third sector agencies. A collection of human success stories arising from the work of BME housing organisations will inform case studies for the research.”
“The research will feed into future-scoping and future-proofing work being undertaken by BMENational’s Executive to inform the sector’s future strategic direction. It will help identify new markets for BME housing organisations, fresh work areas, and how more effective partnering might be developed with local authorities, other housing associations and community agencies. The research will also explore which emerging BME communities have unmet needs and which might need the support of specialist and culturally-sensitive services.”
“It is a pivotal moment for social housing generally and for the BME housing sector specifically. Social housing is debating its future, exemplified by the National Housing Federation’s Hothouse 2033 debate. At the same time, important grassroots movements like SHOUT, Council Homes Chat and Housing Day are growing to promote social housing and defend social tenants from negative media portrayals. What’s important though, and our research will explore this, is the continuing community-based work of social housing organisations and their connections to people on the ground. This is a key strength of BME housing organisations and a bulwark against a rising tide of xenophobia and right wing parties using immigration as dog whistle politics.”
Cym D’Souza, the newly elected Chair of BMENational said: “We intend to run a full media campaign off the back of HCI’s research to cement the role of BME housing organisations as key players in social housing and the social enterprise sector. We also want to show that we have a key role in creating a more equal society and challenging negative stereotypes of BME communities. As BME housing organisations of long standing, we are confident that with our deep roots, our constant support for diverse communities, deployment of our collective assets and our dedicated service delivery, we have much to offer housing, civic society and the economy of the UK. We also plan to illustrate the importance of BME communities in controlling housing and community assets at a time of austerity, and seeking to enable disadvantaged BME people to realise their potential. These are the key messages we will be taking to the country, supported by a comprehensive evidence base, from autumn 2015 onwards.”