THE body that represents England’s council housing management companies has backed a campaign to raise awareness of the social sector’s efforts to help tenants into employment.
The Communities That Work campaign is led by social landlord consortium Give us a Chance (GUAC). Now, the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA), which represents 31 council-owned housing management companies, has pledged to support the campaign.
Research carried out by IPPR last year on GUAC’s behalf found that unemployment among social housing tenants is higher than the national average.
The NFA said that in recent years, its members – which collectively manage around 420,000 council-owned properties – have given thousands of tenants access to apprenticeships, training academies, work experience and mentoring.
Published in 2017, the NFA’s report, Improving Lives, claims that almost three-quarters of council housing companies were actively tackling worklessness among tenants. Around 70% had developed initiatives that targeted unemployment and 65% had apprenticeship schemes. Seven of the organisation’s 31 members also offer support and advice to tenants who want to start their own businesses or who are already self-employed.
“Our members manage council housing across England and have been routinely helping their residents improve their employability for many years,” said Chloe Fletcher, the NFA’s policy director.
“Many NFA members see tenant welfare and improving life chances as an essential part of what a locally owned housing service should offer.
“Now, after a reduction in budget, the services that once offered this kind of help, such as education and local authority-run community hubs means that our members’ housing teams are almost the last source of help residents have.
“But we fail to get the recognition we deserve. This is why we need to shout much louder about the value, both social and financial, that these initiatives bring to their communities, towns and cities. Our members have cast-iron evidence about what works, and we are now putting that evidence behind the Communities that Work campaign.”
GUAC’s managing director, Lynsey Sweeney added: “We’re delighted to have the NFA on board with our Communities that Work campaign, it will help to extend our reach and representation of the social housing sector and highlights the important work that housing providers undertake in helping to get their tenants into employment.”