Hous­ing gi­ants unite and prom­ise 500 new homes

Wilmslow Express - - CITY LIFE LOCAL -

WO of Manch­ester’s big­gest hous­ing providers have merged with the prom­ise to build 500 new homes.

Hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions East­lands Homes and City South Hous­ing have of­fi­cially com­bined un­der a new um­brella group called One Manch­ester – the re­sult of 18 months of talks and con­sul­ta­tion.

And bosses are hail­ing the his­toric deal say­ing the chance to pool their re­sources will in­crease their fi­nan­cial clout – mean­ing they can raise more money to fund the build­ing of des­per­ate­lyneeded new houses.

Hous­ing chiefs now plan to over­see the con­struc­tion of at least 500 prop­er­ties in south and east Manch­ester over the next five years.

That is on top of a £500,000 fund which will pay for com­mu­nity projects over the same pe­riod, with res­i­dents and groups be­ing able to bid for grants of £1,000.

They say no staff will be lost as a re­sult of the merger into one or­gan­i­sa­tion, which will now man­age more than 30,000 peo­ple in 12,000 for­mer coun­cil houses.

Dave Power, for­mer City South CEO, now head­ing up the new group, told our sis­ter pa­per the M.E.N. it would mean big benefits for res­i­dents in the com­ing years.

He said: “There is no short­age in the de­mand for hous­ing. It’s about find­ing the sites first of all.

“What we need is the right build­ings, in the right place and of the right qual­ity. It’s not a ques­tion of fill­ing holes in a map, you also have to think about fa­cil­i­ties.

“What’s equally im­por­tant is in­vest­ment in our com­mu­ni­ties. What I mean by that is things like ac­cess to jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We would like to build 1,000 more homes if we could do it. We just need to link with oth­ers and do it in a suc­cess­ful way.”

The group has just com­pleted a £21m im­prove­ment pro­gramme of six multi-storey blocks across Rusholme, Gor­ton, Longsight and Leven­shulme.

And Mr Power said two schemes in Hulme and a num­ber of sites in East Manch­ester were among a num­ber of those be­ing looked at as pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions for new prop­er­ties.

He said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would con­tinue set­ting up projects such as those de­signed to get ten­ants back into work.

City South was be­hind the re­birth of a Fal­low­field Li­brary as a com­mu­nity cen­tre called The Place, while a new ‘East Hub’ is be­ing set up in Gor­ton where res­i­dents can come and get work-re­lated ad­vice and train­ing.

He added: “Both or­gan- isa­tions have a his­tory of in­vest­ing in op­por­tu­nity for res­i­dents.

“We have a level of strength to do things like this to­gether that we didn’t have separately.” NORTH­ERN Quar­ter fash­ion re­tailer Junk Shop has run 28 free sewing classes to en­cour­age peo­ple not to throw away their old clothes. More than 200 peo­ple have been helped to make a ‘bag for life’ from re­claimed ma­te­ri­als as part of the ‘Re­cy­cle for Greater Manch­ester’ scheme. “The classes have been a huge suc­cess with res­i­dents learn­ing new skills which help keep tex­tiles out of the bin,” said a spokes­woman.

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