Keeping people safe has never been so important, says housing chief
- Credit: Newman Associates
Keeping people safe, keeping homes decent, and meeting tenants’ expectations – these were the three challenges met head-on by a leading regional housing association during the past year.
Michael Newey, chief executive of Broadland Housing, outlined how the organisation had "gone the extra mile" to meet those challenges, at the organisation’s AGM.
In the coming years he promised a renewed focus on local delivery, a continuation of Broadland’s efforts in tackling homelessness, and a drive to become greener.
Despite the pandemic, Broadland Housing delivered 147 new homes during 2020/21 - twice its target.
It also allocated 348 properties during the year, including 117 to homeless households and 111 to older people.
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“The pandemic has been the most significant event of my life, and the same is true for most of us,” Mr Newey said.
“Life has changed, and we have all faced significant challenges. I am really proud of how we transitioned almost overnight to meet those challenges and continue to meet our objectives.
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“Our number one priority has been keeping people safe, and that has sometimes meant that we haven’t been able to do everything that we wanted to do.
“Supporting people has never been more important, whether through befriending calls with people who have been isolated in their homes, or dealing with urgent issues such as emergency repairs.”
Mr Newey outlined some of the challenges facing the organisation as it emerges from the pandemic – with responding to climate change, tackling homelessness and a renewed focus on local delivery all priorities, along with continuing to provide more new homes.
“Climate change will in the long-term be a bigger issue than Covid: the issue is how we can deliver the 2050 net carbon zero target without pushing people into fuel poverty,” said Mr Newey.
“Tackling homelessness has been a long-term priority for us. The pandemic inspired a renewed sense of joined-up thinking and partnership working, and we have played a role in both the Norfolk Strategic Housing Partnership and the Norfolk Homelessness Forum."
Broadland Housing, which was established in 1963, provides 5,337 homes in Norfolk and Suffolk. A copy of the 2020/21 Annual Report can be downloaded from https://www.broadlandgroup.org/annual-reviews.