BME National Celebration media coverage

The housing and communities secretary has called for housing associations to increase the diversity of their workforce to break down barriers and better reflect the communities they serve.

James Brokenshire delivered his speech to black and ethnic minority housing associations in Westminster yesterday, on the same day Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, defined diversity as one of his top four priorities.

Mr Brokenshire said: “This, perhaps, is your greatest achievement – and the greatest lesson for the wider housing sector, which can learn from your insight and experience to ensure that, in the services it provides and the leaders it chooses, it fully reflects the society it serves. I want to see all parts of the sector bringing people from different backgrounds together to break down barriers and combat isolation.”

Mr Brokenshire told the BME National event, hosted by a collective of 60 BME housing associations, they had “done much to meet [diverse communities’] needs and provide culturally sensitive housing and support services.”

Ali Akbor, secretary of BME National, a collective of 60 BME housing associations, said: “BME communities still encounter significant hurdles on the path to achievement. It is imperative that BME housing associations continue to deliver high quality affordable homes and other services to enable them to fulfil their true potential.”

In a speech at the Housing Conference 2018 in Manchester, Mr Walkley said Homes England had a desire to “disrupt the housing market” because it was still “using methodologies from 150 years ago”.

Mr Walkley said: “We’ve got to be disruptive around diversity, because there’s an issue of under-representation.”

The Homes England chief then pointed to the make-up of the panel he was speaking on, which constituted four white men and one white woman, as an example of poor representation.

“Diversity is not just good but essential to deliver a better housing market for the whole of UK,” Mr Walkley said.

Mr Walkley later added that Homes England was currently working on a range of proposals to increase diversity.

Please find links to coverage generated so far below

24 Housing:

Inside Housing:

The Voice:

Planning & Building Control Today:

Business Up North:



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Housing Associations Pledge to Migrant People

Migrant support charter  – the migrants’ pledge

Housing associations across the UK are being urged to sign a pledge to demonstrate their support to migrants at a major conference next month.  Thirty associations have already agreed to the three-point promise, which is a platform to provide fair treatment for migrants. At the recent Cohesion event held at the Macron Stadium on 16th July 2018, John Delahunty reminded a packed room of delegates about the difference a supportive environment could provide to such a vulnerable group of people. The Pledge provide a framework of support that all housing organisations can sign up to, from a very basic level to a more complex level.

The pledge, backed by the National Housing Federation and BMENational, was initially launched at the Migrants’ Access to Housing Conference (MAHC), in London on June 20 2017.

The existing signatories house over 18,000 people, including people who are migrants or refugees, but the campaign aims to get as many housing associations as possible across the UK to sign.

They have all agreed to:

• Provide a safe and welcoming environment to migrants seeking someone they can trust.

• Train staff and board members so that they are able to be informed advocates for vulnerable migrants.

• Engage with staff, communities and partners to increase understanding of the issues facing migrants and to break down prejudice.

John Delahunty, Chief Executive of Innisfree HA, an Irish roots organisation based in London, has been leading the pledge’s development and Innisfree is co-organising the MAHC with Arhag and migrant support charity Praxis.

We believe the migrant and refugee communities in the UK are facing their toughest challenges for years and housing associations, who have a long tradition of providing housing and support to new communities, are needed now more than ever.

John Delahunty said: “The Pledge came about at the suggestion of a group of Chairs of BME Housing Associations in London. They wanted to make a positive statement about the values our organisations have  – reaching back to the work that many of us were set up to do when we first formed.

“Many of the organisations interested in the Pledge are not large housing providers, but all are strong, financially sound community organisations. The Pledge doesn’t require the promise of a lot of resources; it does require the promise of our intent to do what we can to help. If we can trigger a response from housing associations around the country of all sizes, we will make a major difference to the lives of new communities.

“There are already amazing contributions being made by some organisations; we want to encourage more to do something similar.”

Cym D’Souza, Chair of BMENational, added: “BMENational fully supports the Pledge. In the complex pattern of world events today, it clearly expresses our vision of our members helping create successful, vibrant and integrated communities. Across the country we work alongside many other housing associations already having a huge positive impact and we would encourage them all to commit to the Pledge too.”

Migrant Pledge April 2017

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Short video clip which was presented at the House of Lords Reception event on Wednesday 20th June by BME National

Short video film capturing reflections on the BME social housing sector. 1st shown at BME National House of Lords reception celebrating 30+yrs of BME Social Housing, hosted by Lord Patel of Bradford with Speaker James Brokenshire Secretary for State -Housing, Communities and Local Government #BMEhousing

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From strength to strength – 30th anniversary of BMENational

Over the last three decades, the BMENational collective, which was founded as the  Federation of Black Housing Organisations (FBHO), has witnessed many changes in the operating environment.
But our core commitment to providing housing, culturally sensitive services, promoting cohesion and investment in BME communities, continues and advances.

Origins – fighting racism in housing

When the Windrush Generation came to Britain, followed by people from south-east Asia, on the heels of earlier migrations from Ireland, they faced rampant racism in the housing system, immortalised by the “No Irish. No Blacks. No Dogs” in the front windows of cheap board and lodging houses.
This form of low-end private landlordism in the 1960s and 1970s, of which Peter Rachman was the emblem, exploited the new arrivals, who usually had very little choice but to accept the low quality accommodation, intimidation and harassment that was on offer.


Read the full article on the 24 housing website here

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The hostile environment: what social landlords need to know

The problems experienced by the Windrush generation highlight the effects of the “hostile environment” created by Theresa May when she was home secretary. Anyone needing rented housing is affected, alongside those going to hospital or applying for a job or bank account. Social housing applicants have long had to comply with eligibility rules but landlords in England now have to check their right to rent. Rough sleepers and those in poor-quality rented accommodation can be affected by Home Office enforcement action. How can social landlords respond? Here are seven tips.

First, it’s vital that housing staff know the rules or can get expert guidance. We at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) have received reports of people being told they are not eligible for social housing because (for example) they are EU nationals or have limited leave to remain. Many people in these groups are eligible and will continue to be after Brexit. You can find all the rules on the Housing Rights website run by the CIH and BME National. Remember that there may be different rules for housing allocations, homelessness and benefits…


Read full the full article on the Guardian website

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