Memorandum by Tenant Participation Advisory
Service (TPAS) (HOU 37)
TPAS agrees that there needs to be a balance
between providing homes for people in work and those not in work.
However TPAS is concerned about the abrupt divide of key workers
and homeless families. For those in work there will need to be
low cost ownership, part ownership and social housing available.
Not everyone will have the income to afford even low cost ownership
and not everyone has the security of employment to want home ownership.
Social housing will need to be available for these workers. TPAS
is also concerned that the categorization of key worker will simply
exclude those with low incomes, which are just as essential for
local economies as "key" workers.
Likewise those people not in work can't simply
be summed up as homeless families in B&B. There are a wide
range of people in terms of age, circumstances and potential employability.
Such people are part of a balanced community and social housing
remains their obvious housing tenure.
Low DemandWhilst it is very nice that
funding is being pumped into areas of low demand what will be
the right level of engagement with local residents and tenants
to ensure their contribution is an integral part of the Pathfinder
Given the poor track record of top down initiatives
involving local tenants and residents TPAS believes that the engagement
of local people needs to be at the forefront of the Market Renewal
Fund. The Government has rightly recognized that the failure to
do so has been a fundamental cause of failing communities. However
challenging the "top down, we know best" mentality has
been far more difficult and TPAS's own work, on behalf of ODPM,
showed little understanding or involvement of local tenants in
current neighbourhood renewal initiatives.
TPAS therefore proposes that the Government
have an explicit commitment to engage local people in the pilots,
that all pilots have a Steering Group with an elected component
of local tenants and residents and that all pilots must consult
on their plans at an early stage. This consultation must be benchmarked
and endorsed by an independent body as a condition of ODPM funding
being available to the pilots.
Housing Conditions (Decent Homes Standard)Is
the extra funding for Arms Length Companies/PFI going to deliver
decent homes alongside stock transfer?
TPAS has been concerned that the previous level
of funding would not be enough to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
The increased funding is welcomed and will go part of the way
to meet the shortfall. TPAS has three remaining concerns:
Local Authority tenants simply don't
understand why the funding available through stock transfer can't
be available through their Local Authority without the need to
transfer and that for some Local Authority no optioneven
stock transferadds up to the funding needed to meet the
Decent Homes Standard.
That for some Local Authorities the
sums from any option just don't meet what they require to meet
the Decent Homes Standard. This is especially true for larger
northern Metropolitan councils.
That the process that "delivers"
any of these options needs to be more robustwith compulsory
ballots of tenants on ALMOs and PFI proposalsand far greater
emphasis on ensuring tenants get impartial and robust advice on
the stock transfer proposals in front of them.