Our Daily Roundup of Inside Housing's Digital Housing Week – Day 1

  22 JUNE, 2020
housing day 1

This week, our Novus colleagues will be giving their key takeaway messages from a range of sessions from Inside Housing's Digital Housing Week (22nd - 26th June 2020). Here is our round up of day 1.


An evaluation of how the sector has managed during the challenging time of Covid-19

Attended by Housing Partnership Manager – Sue Minkley

  • It was incredibly clear that the level of tenant engagement remains absolutely paramount, with a continued emphasis on identifying where help and support is needed.
  • Tenants are the housing provider’s most important stakeholders and focusing on their safety, lives, livelihoods, and welfare is crucial.
  • The exceptional levels of communication observed during the pandemic must continue to be a priority. Clear, transparent communication can shape understanding as to what services are needed and how they may be delivered in the future.
  • The sector has shown great resilience, responding with agility. The focus has been on front line services – acting on core values and providing an essential service in order to meet the needs of tenant communities.
  • Even during this challenging time, building safety must never be ignored and we must keep safety inspection programmes going as well as maintaining emergency repair services.
  • Develop stress tested business plans designed around the “what if” scenario – making sure these plans are viable and robust for any further adverse circumstances.

How can we make it financially viable to become carbon zero?

Attended by Head of Partnerships Peter Hordley & BD and Market Insight Manager Paul Williams

  • To meet the Net Carbon Zero challenge by 2050 for social housing stock we, as a sector/industry, will have to improve 3,000 homes every week for the next 30 years – a challenge in terms of workforce resources, supply chain capacity, logistics and funding that has to be overcome.
  • The longer we leave it, the greater the challenge becomes and the more damage we are doing to our planet.
  • The need for long term government support and policy making on the green agenda, with a hint of frustration regarding the previously abandoned new build standards.
  • Retrofitting of homes is likely to cost between £20k and £36k (BRE), Savills (£25k to £28K) with the additional cost on a new build home (in addition to the standard build cost) being around £30k at current prices.
  • Innovation and partnership were seen as critical approaches to achieve the 2050 target.

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THE GOVERNMENT STEPS IN TO SAFEGUARD 53,000 NEW AFFORDABLE HOMES

On Monday 6th July, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the Government will be extending the current Affordable Homes Programme until March 2023. Delays in the Construction Industry Construction on new homes to be built under the Government’s £9 billion scheme originally needed to be underway by March 2022. However, today’s announcement means that housing associations and councils have a year longer to begin building these homes. The extension applies to homes which are in contract to be delivered by the current scheme. The Government has made the move in light of unavoidable delays in the construction industry due to coronavirus, where the building of 53,000 new affordable homes has stalled, putting their eventual completion at risk. Providing Flexibility to Councils Mr. Jenrick said that this measure will give housing associations and councils more flexibility “to help them deliver affordable homes.” He added that “building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this Government.” This latest announcement follows last week’s package of measures, including confirmation that the new £12 billion Affordable Homes Programme will support up to 180,000 new homes, including for shared ownership and social rent. The programme will lead to a further £38 billion in public and private investment in affordable housing. Full details can be seen on the Government website.

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