Housing giants unite and promise 500 new homes
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.