New Chair for South Yorkshire Housing Association

A leading housing academic and adviser on national housing policy has been named as the new Chair of South Yorkshire Housing Association.

Professor of Housing Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, Ian Cole, takes over from the outgoing Barbara Walsh who has stepped down after serving nine years on the Board.

Professor Cole has gained a wealth of experience over thirty years in research, writing and teaching in the field of housing policy at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University.

Ian Cole

We’re delighted that Ian has joined our Board.

He has directed major research projects for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the National Housing Federation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and he has acted as a special adviser to the DWP and three House of Commons Select Committee inquiries.

More recently Professor Cole directed the CRESR evaluation of the pilot programme for the extension of the Right to Buy to housing associations.

Professor Cole is one of five new appointments to SYHA’s Board which also includes Jon Sparkes, CEO of national homelessness charity Crisis, Sandi Carman, Assistant Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Helen Ratcliffe, a leading development and land expert, and Terri Proudfoot, an SYHA customer.

Speaking about the appointment, Professor Cole said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been elected Chair of SYHA. Since I joined the Board a year ago, I have been extremely impressed with the commitment of staff and other Board members to promote the strong social values of SYHA and to ensure that the voice of customers is heard loud and clear in all that we do. SYHA is distinctive in the scale of its care and supported housing to meet a wide range of housing, social care and health needs in the region and we are all determined to maintain and strengthen this role in the future alongside our provision for wider housing needs.

“I am very excited about the prospects for SYHA to increase its provision in the future, including an innovative rented scheme in the Kelham Island area of Sheffield. In the wake of the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower and energetic lobbying from the housing sector, there are real signs of a government rethink on the positive role of social housing can play in the face of the severe housing crisis. I am sure SYHA will be at the forefront of developing initiatives to provide a first rate housing service and high quality homes for all its customers in the Sheffield City Region.

“I think that my academic background and interests can help to bring historical and analytical perspective to bear on contemporary housing issues. But I have always thought that the point of research was to help change the world and not just to interpret it; and never to drift too far from the day-to-day realities that confront local communities, as well as those who are working to build a more equitable, affordable and humane housing system. As the new Chair of the SYHA Board I will relish the prospect of working with others towards this goal.”

Important customer information – Fire Safety

Our thoughts are with the residents, families and emergency services that have been affected by the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London.

Whilst SYHA does not have any high rise tower blocks, we want to reassure our customers that our properties are maintained to very high standard with fire being one of our top priorities.

What happened at Grenfell Tower was unprecedented. As the facts of this tragedy emerge, SYHA will work with our partners, contractors and local fire authorities to apply the lessons learned to keep our customers safe.

If you have any questions or concerns please do get in touch with us.

Matt Steventon, Health and Safety Manager 

£1.8 million investment into local property maintenance

South Yorkshire Housing Association has extended its contract with building services company J Tomlinson to continue providing stock investment services until 2019.

Over the next two years J Tomlinson will carry out £1.8 million worth of upgrades, programmed repairs and investment work at the housing association’s properties across South Yorkshire.

Carmelle Sampson showing staff from SYHA and Tomlinson around her new kitchen

Carmelle Sampson showing staff from SYHA and Tomlinson around her new kitchen

The new contract includes boiler installations, as well as kitchen and bathroom refits – all of which will be carried out by the J Tomlinson repairs, maintenance and regeneration teams.

SYHA’s investment reflects the organisation’s commitment to developing the standard of their properties and providing customers with a home they are proud to live in. The decision to extend the contract was taken based on excellent feedback over the past year, with work carried out on kitchens and boilers receiving a 99% customer satisfaction score.

Mike Fisher, Senior Property Services Officer at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to have offered a contract extension to J Tomlinson following the successful completion of a programme of works over the past three years.

“Their teams have always acted professionally and represented SYHA brilliantly – we’re pleased that we’re able to use their skills and expertise in these areas to carry out improvement work in our customers’ homes. It’s clear from our customer satisfaction surveys that they are very happy with the quality of the work they carry out.”

Antony Newton, Regeneration Director at J Tomlinson, said: “J Tomlinson has worked on kitchen and bathroom replacements for South Yorkshire Housing Association properties since September 2014 and we are very pleased to have secured a two-year extension to continue the renovation and improvement programme being undertaken by the organisation.

“Our teams have wide experience in refurbishments of this type, and it is always pleasing to receive a contract extension, as it is an endorsement of the work already completed to date. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with SYHA and to improving residents’ homes by updating and installing new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems.”

To find out more about our investment in our properties visit our planned works page.

Over 200 new flats to be built in theKelham Island

A landmark deal that will see over 200 new flats built in the Kelham Island area of Sheffield has been signed today.

The deal between South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) and the Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund (an investment fund), will see 219 flats built at the Steelworks site in Kelham Island.

Credit Will Roberts, Vox Multimedia

Kelham Island. Credit Will Roberts, Vox Multimedia

It sees South Yorkshire Housing Association become the first housing association in the country to secure investment of this kind.

All properties will be available to rent through Crucible Sales and Lettings, an SYHA owned estate agency, with approximately one third of properties offered at sub-market rents. These sub-market rent properties will give people the opportunity to live in good quality accommodation that will be affordable today and, importantly, over the long term.

The first phase of development is expected to start on site in autumn 2016 subject to planning approval and scheduled for completion in autumn 2018.

Miranda Plowden, Business Development Director at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “This is a really exciting development for us, one of the biggest deals we’ve ever done and marks a major move for us into the private rented sector, whilst still being able to offer quality homes at lower rents.

“We’re committed to working with partners to help solve the housing crisis, and we hope this is the first of many innovative projects like this that can deliver the housing that the Sheffield City Region desperately needs.”

Shamez Alibhai, Head of the Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund commented: “With housing associations facing increasing challenges across the country, we believe the private sector and patient capital has an important role to play in helping to provide solutions to help with housing delivery. With rents in the centre of Sheffield increasing by approximately 4% per annum over the past five years, there has been a knock-on effect on affordability for the general community.

We are really impressed by the SYHA’s innovative approach to address the shortage of housing in the area and are delighted to be working with them to provide much-needed new homes that are affordable today and into the future.”

If you’d like to register your interest or sign up for updates on the Kelham Island development email kelham@cruciblesalesandlettings.co.uk or call 0114 2413430.

Our response to the Building New Social Rent Homes report

On Wednesday 17th June the national housing campaign SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat) and the National Federation of Arm’s Length Management Organisations (NFA) released a report that detailed the economic case for building 100,000 new social rent homes each year.

The report, compiled by Capital Economics, outlines how building 100,000 new social rent homes would save the UK £0.9 trillion by 2065/66. Savings would be achieved by lower welfare payments, with people moving to social housing tenancy rather than private rent, and higher tax receipts from the building industry.

A key highlight of the report is that unless more social rent homes are built the housing benefit bill, currently standing at £24.4 billion a year, will soar to £197.3 billion by 2065/66.

Tony Stacey, Chief Executive of SYHA sits on the SHOUT steering group and is excited by Capital’s findings, he said, “For over 30 years successive governments have cut back on investment in social housing leaving the cost to rent – and housing benefit – to take the strain.

“The economic think tank, Capital Economics, has looked hard at the economic case for reversing this trend, and they have not pulled their punches, describing current policy as ‘fiscal myopia’. This is not about austerity politics; it is about economic common sense. We should ask ourselves why we are wasting money in this way.

“My starting point for setting rents for social housing would be this. If you are in work and earning the ‘living wage’ you should not, surely, have to resort to housing benefit to pay your rent. The Government should not have been forced up rents in the way they have.

“We all get the principle of a living wage, now let’s start thinking about a living rent. This works for individuals – particularly hard working families who are hardest hit. This report shows us it works for our economy too. As the report states – ‘the fiscal case for building new social rented housing is unanswerable’.”

The full report is now available at www.4socialhousing.co.uk and you can keep up to date with the launch of the report by following @4socialhousing and #BuildToSave on Twitter.