​Part two – reflections from my home town of Manchester and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Conference

Jul 27, 2017 | News

Shift from social to affordable housing

There has been a big shift towards the provision of affordable housing, considered as rental at 80% of market rent, and away from social housing. This is driven by lower grant subsidies for building new houses and a 1% a year rent reduction for Housing Associations driven by the increasing cost of Housing Benefit.

New social housing for rental are at the lowest level on record. For 2016 944 social rentals were funded by the HCA (Homes and Community Agency) and the GLA (Greater London Authority) – a 98% drop over the last seven years. Overall, the total number of affordable housing completions increased by 25% to 27,792 as homes available as affordable rental replace homes for social rental.

A visible increase in homelessness

Combined with a whole raft of welfare reforms and austerity measures there has been a massive increase in homelessness, doubling since 2010, and very visible on the streets of Manchester.

Mergers and retaining social mission

There has been a trend of Housing Associations merging together with one of the largest mergers being between Affinity Sutton and Circle Housing. This created the Clarion Housing Group managing 115,000 houses and with a development plan to build 50,000 new homes over the next 10 years,

“Clarion Housing Group will be the largest housing association in the country and one of the largest house-builders in Britain. It will more than double the supply of new homes that the two former organisations could build – without relying on any government subsidy. The Group will prioritise affordable housing with around two-thirds of its programme for affordable rent and low cost home ownership, helping to tackle the housing crisis head on.

The Housing Association sector has been challenged about losing site of its social mission and core values as it moved to affordable housing and left its social housing tenants to become “demonised” by the Conservative government, according to Tim Murtha’s blog at https://tommurtha.wordpress.com/ and here: Dispossession – The great social housing swindle trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AB7WR97p7s

Digital Platforms and customer service

Customer service and digital platforms remain at the forefront of service delivery. Even the smallest Housing Associations (2,000 units) have their own app allowing tenants to check their rent statements, pay rent, report and track a repair and provide feedback. The introduction of Universal Credit (one monthly payment of all benefits to tenants and direct rent payments only in exceptional circumstances) means that money management is becoming a core front line service.

Tenant Scrutiny Panels

Tenant involvement has always been an integral part of social housing in the UK and tenant scrutiny is taking this to another level. This has been driven by the move towards co-regulation requiring social landlords to monitor themselves and to be held to account by tenants. It is a way to give tenants and customers greater influence and establishes landlord accountability. This is an opportunity to develop active partnership between tenants, other customers and landlords to deliver excellent services.

Mutualisation – co-ownership by tenants and employees

This new model of ownership for community housing appears to be at the leading edge of tenant empowerment and an emerging trend in the sector. Phoenix Community Housing (Lewisham, London) provides an example of the benefits of a large scale voluntary transfer and of an organisation that encourages residents to become shareholders – both the chair and vice chair of the board are residents.

Bromford is a social enterprise organisation that has replaced tenancy managers with neighbourhood coaches.

Recent articles

Annual Report

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

CHA’s Annual Report for 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2020

Strategic Plan

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

CHA’s Strategic Plan 2018

Featured Network

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Residential Tenancies Act Community of Practice

Our Place

Our Place 2017

Our Place 2017

Case Studies

Media Releases

The Shift Aotearoa conference 2021 issues papers released

Community Housing Aotearoa’s three pre-conference work programmes are kicking off next week with initial zoom meetings in the Narrative Transformation and Housing System Settings streams scheduled for Tuesday 26 January at 10AM and 1PM respectively. Issues papers to...


CHA Level 4 Guidance Document 8 September

CHA Level 4 Guidance Document 8 September Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) has put together this document to consolidate information, contacts, resources and advice to help you in your day to day service delivery and decision making. It will be updated as new...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) COVID-19 Update 26 August 2021

Message from CHA's Chief Executive, Productivity Commission Submission - Include Housing in the Terms of Reference, CHA's support for members, sharing ideas and issues, Ministry of Health information and advice, Government support for your organisation, important...


Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 30 August 2021

Message from Chief Executive, Support for Members, CHA Regional Event Series, #right2housing - Episode 2, Community Finance named as finalists at Sustainable Business Awards, Feedback sought on draft strategy and planning policy for housing measures, An update on the...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 18 August 2021

Community Housing Aotearoa COVID-19 Update, Message from CHA's Chief Executive, CHA's support for members, Sharing ideas and issues, Ministry of Health information and advice, Government support for your organisation. Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 18...

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 16 August 2021

Warm Welcome for CHA's new Chief Executive, CHA Regional Event Series, Masterclass Webinar on Place-based initiatives: Save the Date! Government Reinstates Operating Supplement. On-going Engagement Underway - HRC Framework Guidelines on the #right2housing in Action....

Community Housing Aotearoa (CHA) Newsletter 3 August 2021

CHA Regional Event Series, Human Rights Commission Framework Guidelines on the Right to a Decent Home, Stories of Homelessness: When the Dominoes Start to Fall, Tenancy Management - Code of Practice, In the News, EVENTS, Upcoming Homestar v5 Events. Community Housing...




Te Whakaruruhau Report

The Te Whakaruruhau Report establishes the peak body services to the Homelessness Sector by Te Matapihi he Tirohanga mō te IwiTrust and Community Housing Aotearoa. The report can be found here: Te Whakaruruhau September 2020


Following the money


BRANZ research report on ‘exceeding the minimum’ released

This report looks at the question: why don’t landlords choose features that exceed the minimum building standards and what are the enablers to changing this? The aim is to identify the barriers to an improved rental stock and potential solutions to overcome the...

Community Housing Aotearoa

Contact Us

Contact Info

Level 11, Ranchhod Tower,
39 The Terrace /
102-112 Lambton Quay
PO Box 11543
Wellington 6142

+04 385 8722


Follow On