Housing association


Housing association

Housing associations in the United Kingdom are independent not-for-profit bodies that provide low-cost "social housing" for people in housing need. Any trading surplus is used to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones. They are now the United Kingdom's major providers of new homes for rent, while many also run shared ownership schemes to help people who cannot afford to buy their own homes outright.

Housing associations provide a wide range of housing, some managing large estates of housing for families, while the smallest may perhaps manage a single scheme of housing for older people. Much of the supported accommodation in the UK is also provided by Housing Associations, with specialist projects for people with mental health or learning disabilities, with substance misuse problems (drugs or alcohol), the formerly homeless, young people, ex-offenders and women fleeing domestic violence.

Funding and regulation

Housing associations are funded and regulated by a variety of organisations, depending on where they are based.

* In England, housing associations are funded and regulated by the Housing Corporation, a non-departmental public body or quango that reports to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

* In Northern Ireland, the same role is carried out by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

* In Scotland, this function is fulfilled by Communities Scotland, an executive agency of the Scottish Executive Development Department.

* In Wales, the regulation and funding of housing associations is carried out by the Welsh Assembly.

Registered Social Landlord (RSL) is the technical name for social landlords that are registered with the Housing Corporation - most are housing associations, but there are also trusts, co-operatives and companies.

Since 2003, in an effort to seek greater value for money, much of the funding by the Housing Corporation for new house building has been channelled to fewer than 80 "developing housing associations" that have achieved "partner status" through Partner Programme Agreements.

Legally housing associations are often Industrial and Provident societies, and may or may not be registered charities.

There are four industry bodies representing housing associations working in the UK, each covering a respective home nation. They are:
* England - National Housing Federation (NHF)
* Scotland - Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
* Wales - Community Housing Cymru (CHC)
* Northern Ireland - Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA)

The NHF (formerly the National Federation of Housing Associations) claimed that at the start of 2003 they had around 1400 non-profit housing organisations in their membership, owning or managing approximately 1.8 million homes across England.

Management

A feature of Housing Associations is that, although the larger Housing Associations usually have paid staff, a committee or board of management made up of volunteers has overall responsibility for the work of the organisation. A board might include residents, representatives from local authorities and community groups, business people and politicians. There are more than 30,000 voluntary board members running housing associations throughout England.

History

They first appeared in the second half of the nineteenth century as part of the growth in philanthropic and voluntary organisations brought about by the growth of the middle classes in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.

Housing associations increased in importance over the last decades of the twentieth century due to changes to council housing brought in by the Thatcher government, when rules were introduced that prevented councils subsidising their housing from local taxes, channeled grants for construction of new Social housing to Housing Associations and allowed Council tenants to buy their homes at a large discount. This, combined with cost-cutting initiatives in local government and a housing benefit scheme that was more generous to housing associations than local authorities, led to many councils transferring their housing stock to housing associations. These organisations are often referred to as Large Scale Voluntary Transfer organisations or Local Housing Companies.

ee also

*EcoHomes
*Hornsey Housing Trust
*Leeds Federated Housing Association
*Granby House (Youlgrave & District) Society Ltd

External links

* [http://www.Housing.org.uk National Housing Federation] (covers England only)
* [http://www.sfha.co.uk Scottish Federation of Housing Associations]
* [http://www.chcymru.org.uk Community Housing Cymru]
* [http://www.nifha.org Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations]
* [http://www.housingcorp.gov.uk/index.htm The Housing Corporation]
* [http://www.housingnet.co.uk Housingnet]
* [http://www.lqgroup.org.uk London and Quadrant Housing Group]
* [http://www.mhp-online.co.uk Metropolitan Housing Partnership]
* [http://www.nottinghillhousing.co.uk/ Nottinghill Housing Association]
* [http://www.servitehouses.org.uk Servite Houses]
* [http://www.shla.org.uk Social Housing Law Association]
* [http://www.cih.org Chartered Institute of Housing]
* [http://www.thch.org.uk THCH]
* [http://www.placesforpeople.co.uk Places for People]
* [http://granbyhouse.googlepages.com Granby House]
* [http://topoffer.net/real-estate-directory/regions/europe/united-kingdom/real-estate-associations/housing.html List of UK Housing Associations]


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