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Social landlord defends Asian housing priority after outcry

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Social landlord defends Asian housing priority after outcry

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Social landlord defends Asian housing priority after outcry Social landlord defends Asian housing priority after outcry

Social landlord Orbit Housing has been accused of discrimination after apparently giving priority to Asian people at one of its housing schemes.

Online ads for some one-bed sheltered flats at the housing association's Apni Haweli development in Chatham stated "Please note priority will be given to Asian communities" and "Preference given to asian (sic) applicants".

The ads saw angry locals flock to social media to vent their fury.

Posting on Facebook, Leighann Charlotte Felstead wrote: “I and a lot of others think this is disgraceful. This wouldn’t be allowed if it was written as priority to white community (sic). Surely this is discrimination.”

Writing on Orbit's own Facebook page, Kitty Raj said: "I'm Asian and this is discrimination! Many have fought long for equality and equality swings in every way! Positive discrimination / affirmative action is still discrimination.

"Everyone should be assessed equally and ETHNICITY should never come into this!"

Adam Hosker posted: "This is against Orbit's 'GROUP EQUALITY & DIVERSITY FRAMEWORK' and their own website outlineing (sic) 'Fair housing and equal opportunities policy' that says they will not discriminate against race."

However, in a statement, Orbit said that it is "committed to providing homes to people from all communities and backgrounds to best meet their needs" and that it appreciated that "people from different cultures have different requirements and therefore we have certain schemes that provide services to best match these."

The flats on Clover Street are being offered at £77.70pw and come with electric central heating.

Angela Rankin, Orbit South's head of independent living, said: "In the past few days we have had queries around prioritisation of housing at Apni Haweli, a scheme for people over 55, managed by Orbit South.

"We do not exclude people from accessing the scheme based on race, and this is seen through the diverse range of people currently living at the scheme including five out of the 18 properties being allocated to people from white British backgrounds.

"The scheme was initially set up over a decade ago as sheltered housing for the local community; we are currently reviewing the housing policy that was in place at the time to give further clarity on prioritisation criteria. We will be able to update interested parties once we have further information."

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