Smaller housing providers 'vital' to solving housing crisis
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Smaller housing associations are vital to tackling the housing crisis in London, a new report has revealed.
'Flexible and focused: the specialists at the heart of neighbourhoods' found that over 25 percent of the Capital's most vulnerable people were housed by a smaller provider last year.
Commissioned by g320 - the representative body for smaller housing associations across London - the report calls for greater collaboration between large and small providers and for a recognition of the "unique strengths" that smaller providers have to offer.
Elizabeth Clarson, chair of the g320, said: "London has a shockingly acute housing crisis, with an estimated one in 10 Londoners on a council housing waiting list.
"Our report puts forward some radical ideas that we are very keen to explore with our larger colleagues. We have unique strengths and we have untapped assets. By combining these with the acknowledged advantages of our much larger colleagues we can do so much more to help London."
The report challenges the view that smaller providers lack the capacity to build new homes, revealing that 77 percent are either currently building houses or have well-advanced plans to do so.
The research was sponsored by L&Q, one of the country's largest housing associations.
David Montague, L&Q group chief executive, said: "The debate should not be about large versus small, but how housing associations of all sizes can work together to provide the homes and services that are so urgently needed across London and the UK.
"This report spells out the vital role of smaller, more specialist housing associations. Larger providers have a responsibility to support these associations, while together we must forge stronger relationships and demonstrate what we can deliver as a united sector."
The report found that smaller associations:
• are keen to discuss with their larger associations innovative ways to make the best use of untapped capital assets and borrowing capacity
• are rated experts on their neighbourhoods, with 81% of London councils, specialist agencies and larger associations rating their local knowledge ‘good’ or ‘excellent’
• have the most satisfied tenants, 6% higher than the London average at 79%
• are seen to be agile, flexible and resourceful to provide creative responses to localised problems
• are best placed to raise charitable funding and benefit from volunteer input.