Wythenshawe residents getting their say on housing


Residents in Wythenshawe are getting the chance to have their say in a bid improve social housing.

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group are in the middle of a major consultation exercise with residents to contribute to the government’ s Green Paper – A New Deal for Social Housing.

Residents are being asked to give their views when they ring WCHG’s customer contact centre and a series of events are being organised to give local people a voice on the future of housing.

Dean Slavin, leading the consultation for WCHG, says the aim of exercise is to collate 1000 responses to be presented in a report – “The Voice of Wythenshawe”, before the government’s deadline on November 6th.

The government’s consultation is centred around five themes :

  • Ensuring homes are safe and decent
  • Moving away from long convoluted complaints system
  • Providing a voice for tenants for holding organisations to account
  • Tackling the stigma of social housing – moving away from notions of sink estates
  • Promoting home ownership schemes.

The government want public opinion on it from tenants, social housing leaseholders, or shared owners. Wythenshawe residents are being asked about a different theme each week. Consultation in Wythenshawe began on September 10th and is running till October 12th.

Dean is particularly passionate about tackling the stereotypes associated with social housing and changing attitudes and language. He says there has been a positive response to the consultation so far.

He said: “The Government produced a very long and complex survey. We decided to scrap that and produce a more straightforward set of questions. The responses will be collated and presented in a report “The Voice of Wythenshawe”, before the government’s deadline on November 6th.”

There will also be a series of customer panels and they are working with tenants and residents groups in Benchill, Northenden, Village 135 and Baguley.

The government has attracted criticism from some quarters who see the Green Paper as a missed opportunity. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation says the initiative could have spearheaded a growth in affordable housing as a way of tackling poverty.

The JRF’s Chief Executive, Campbell Robb, said: “Families up and down the country are being trapped in poverty because of high housing costs. The Social Housing Green Paper was an opportunity to right this wrong and deliver a plan that would build a new generation of social housing, that would loosen the grip of poverty on families and help people to build a secure future.

“Whilst the plans to empower tenants and give them a real voice are very welcome the lack of concrete plans to build significantly more truly affordable homes risks failing a generation. Against a back drop of rising foodbank use, families on low incomes will continue to face impossible choices about whether to pay the rent or put food on the table. We urge the Government to invest in 80,000 genuinely affordable homes a year at the next Spending Review to put things right.”

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