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New LSE Housing Academy for social landlords launched

The National Communities Resource Centre and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will launch the new Housing Plus Academy on Monday 9 November at Trafford Hall, Cheshire.

The Academy will help housing associations remain viable social businesses by supporting the communities where they work in a period of austerity. It will be hands-on and action-oriented locally while driving home policy messages among decision-makers.

It will also develop knowledge exchange and offer peer learning, accredited participative training and think tanks to explore areas needing action and support to social landlords, particularly helping their front line staff and tenants to respond to welfare reform, financial pressures, energy costs, job access, community and social needs.

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Twelve leading housing associations have become partners and sponsors of the Housing Plus Academy alongside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who are supporting efforts to include small, community based organisations and vulnerable minorities. It is also backed by the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, along with a number of small housing associations. With sponsorship and minimal charges for each event, the Housing Plus Academy will be self-sustaining.

Professor Anne Power of LSE Housing and Communities commented: “Housing Plus seems to have real purchase because housing associations are driven by the urgent need to retain their business viability while at the same time depending on tenants coping and paying their way. They have a strong ethical purpose, and are the most significant organisations within low income communities, alongside schools.

“Local authorities are also involved but their role and responsibilities are significantly different because of their much wider political remit. However many have a direct involvement in the key Housing Plus themes, particularly through their role as social landlords or through transfer associations. All social landlords favour the think tank model as the basis for the Housing Plus Academy.”

Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat said: "In a tough environment, the Housing Plus Academy can help housing professionals and organisations maintain their support for residents and communities."

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: "Trafford Hall and LSE have a national reputation that spans many years and today housing is more challenging than ever, but it will be initiatives like the Housing Plus Academy that will help the sector to rise to those challenges and prosper in the future helping all of us to do more and better, and often with fewer resources"

Notes

For further information, please contact Nicola Serle, n.serle@lse.ac.uk  or phone 0207 955 6684

or Sally Wyatt, Chief Executive Trafford Hall, s.wyatt@traffordhall.com or phone 01244 300246

  1. The Housing Plus Academy has come out of a successful knowledge exchange programme run by LSE Housing and Communities led by Professor Anne Power. The programme, Housing Plus, was funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and attracted over 500 participants to knowledge sharing events at Trafford Hall. The themes covered included welfare reform, work and skills, energy saving, community resilience, private renting alternatives, the future of social housing, and the value of mixed communities in expensive neighbourhoods.
  2. So far, twelve leading housing associations have agreed to become partners and sponsors of the Housing Plus Academy: Poplar HARCA, PlaceShapers, Affinity Sutton, Circle, Curo, Genesis, Home, Incommunities, L&Q, Riverside, Southern and Bolton at Home.
  3. In addition, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is supporting efforts to include small, community based organisations and vulnerable minorities, and will be involved in the development of the Academy.
  4. Additional supporters include Amicus Horizon, Orbit, Octavia, Gentoo and Arawak Walton.
  5. Over the last three years LSE Housing and Communities has run a Housing Plus knowledge exchange programme in partnership with Trafford Hall and the National Housing Federation. Housing Plus is about the work that social landlords do and the value they add in disadvantaged communities, over and above their core landlord role.
  6. LSE’s Housing Plus programme included four roundtable discussions at LSE linked directly to policy makers and eight think tanks at Trafford Hall, of which three were organised as special events for tenants. All events were well supported with about 350 staff and 140 tenants participating in all. The themes covered included welfare reform, work and skills, energy saving, community resilience, private renting alternatives, the future of social housing, and the value of mixed communities in expensive neighbourhoods.

6 November 2015

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