Around 20 housing providers joined Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Social Housing Partnership (BSHP) today (Friday 22 January) to discuss how to strengthen existing partnerships to ensure enough quality homes and support services for Birmingham’s citizens.

Providers committed to support each other to develop a new approach to homes and neighbourhoods and develop a comprehensive housing offer for Birmingham.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, said: “Birmingham has a proud history of working with housing providers to deliver quality homes and better neighbourhoods but we recognise that we need to do more if we are in with a chance of delivering the quantity of homes needed.  Quite simply, with less money available but more to do, it’s essential that we explore all possible avenues and work creatively to deliver homes and support services.

“Today’s conference launched this approach and set up groups of people committed to working out how best to provide housing for people with specialist needs – such as sheltered housing and extra care – and those in need of social housing.  We are also going to work together to increase the provision of affordable, quality homes, whether owner occupier or privately rented and we will meet again next month. ”

Jonathan Driffill, Executive Director of Partnerships, Care and Communities at Longhurst Group and current Chair of BSHP, said: “As a country we’re only building about half of the homes we need to meet demand. The government has made a commitment to increase building over the next four years however as the government focusses on increasing the number of homes available to buy there is a risk that some of the essential support services that housing associations provide will start to disappear.

“Working collaboratively with local charities and other support organisations we’re in a much better position to continue to provide services that help people find work, stay out of debt, or recover from hardship. That’s the purpose of today’s event – to ask ourselves how we can keep making a difference.”

Organisations heard from a range of speakers –

Cllr John Clancy

Leader of Birmingham City Council

Cllr John Cotton

Birmingham’s cabinet member for neighbourhood management and homes

Jonathan Driffill

Chair Birmingham Social Housing Partnership

Robert James

Birmingham City Council’s housing service director

Gemma Duggan

External Affairs Manager National Housing Federation

Jean Templeton

Chief Executive St Basils

The next meeting will take place on Monday 15 February.

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