If anyone working in social housing has any semblance of the ethereal social purpose they should all get together and demand that David Orr the Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation must go.
I discuss the LHA Maxima Cap policy below and why that alone can give no confidence in David Orr to anyone in social housing and least of all the pensioner. If you have the smallest ounce of ‘social purpose’ in your body then the arguments why David Orr has to go are all there. If you have any balls at all then the housing professional has to read and consdier the arguments here rather than remain in the bubble within a bubble in which they invariably reside – the one that has many coats of Teflon to resist any criticism of anything at all to do with housing.
There is nothing personal in this polemic. I merely argue for the good of social housing and social purpose and what all of us in social housing understand by those terms that he has to go. He has to fall on his sword because as the CEO of the NHF he represents the 63% of social housing that housing associations in England have. I use the LHA Maxima Cap policy to illustrate as this one policy alone illustrates why he has to go and just because I say that he has ‘fucked-over’ the pensioner rather than ‘shafted’ or any other more tactful term does not make this an emotive polemic, it merely demonstrates the strength of the argument as to why he has to go. The same applies to the occasional flippant tone … Read on …
The bedroom tax for pensioners in general needs social housing casts a dark shadow over the Tories plans for the funding of supported housing. Its inevitable consequence of social landlords evicting pensioners in huge numbers and the closure of sheltered housing projects gives an even darker shadow for housing associations and will expose their pretence at claiming to have social purpose.
These are just two of the consequences of housing associations and specifically David Orr Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation getting into bed with the Tories in their ‘critical friend’ relationship. You may ask what friend craps on you from a great height never mind a critical one yet this is what housing associations get for blindly following Glorious Leader Orr and jumping into bed with the Tories and the reality of non-challenge to the ideologically driven policies of your critical friend this means will soon be there for all to see. The fan is huge and the proverbial is the smelliest possible.
The LHA Maxima Cap policy of the Tories WAS fervently challenged by housing associations when it was first proposed in July 2011 and so much so that the consultation paper it produced did not even see a publicly released response from the Tories. YET when the Tories dug it up again and in even worse form in 2015 the housing associations did NOT challenge it as they had this critical friend relationship with the Tory government.
That critical friend relationship is the same reason why housing associations failed to challenge the bedroom tax or the overall benefit cap or any other misnamed ‘welfare reform’ policy. YET when the pensioner is affected and evicted the housing associations have a critical business problem and they cannot adopt the strategy to date with the working-age tenant of saying this is government policy and our hands are tied there is nothing we can do about it as they have done with all other ‘welfare reforms.’
The reputational risk to the very essence of housing associations who trade on the basis of having the ethereal social purpose is massive because the unopposed and unchallenged LHA Maxima Cap policy hits the pensioner.
The LHA Maxima Cap policy doesn’t just hit the pensioner of course it hits every vulnerable client group and homeless hostels, domestic abuse refuges and homes for those with every form of disability will close. However the focus of attention will be on the previously protected and exempt from ‘welfare reform’ pensioner and the NHF is focusing its pathetic pretence at challenge on them – or at least that the policy will mean fewer new units of their cash cows called sheltered housing.
Tomorrow, the 1st of September sees the launch of the National Housing Federation’s “Starts at Home” strategy and will be the usual pitiful challenge to the ideological policies of their critical friend.
Home is where the heart is and the NHF simply have no heart.
Starts at Home will be and has to be nothing more than deflection and misdirection away from the fact that the pensioner will be evicted because the National Housing Federation failed to challenge the idiocy of the LHA Maxima Cap policy because they had this critical friend relationship with the Tory zealots in government.
How did the NHF not see that the pensioner / pensioner couple in general needs housing will only get £69 per week in Housing Benefit in Hull?
The pensioner in Hull will have their level of housing benefit capped at the 1 bed LHA maximum of £69 per week and so this will be cut to the pensioner there whether they live in a fully occupied 1 bed property and whether they live in an under occupied 3 bed property. This back door bedroom tax applies to the pensioner even if they do NOT under occupy their home and in general needs not supported housing.
Which part of Starts at Home is that David Orr?
How about the pensioner living in a sheltered housing 1 bed property with a rent level that is now paid with £135 per week in housing benefit in Liverpool (a median rent area unlike low rent area Hull) yet will fall to just £90 per week? How is the pensioner expected to pay for the £45 per week difference?
Oh it appears that David Orr and the NHF missed these issues as the 1 bed LHA maximum in high rent London is around £250 per week and so the pensioner in general needs or sheltered housing won’t be affected and wont lose their HOME!
How about the 59,000 two-bed sheltered housing properties your housing association members have in England David Orr? Yes the vast majority of social tenants there will see a massive cut in housing benefit won’t they and a cut that will severely threaten their continued occupation of their HOME!
You’ve been awfully quiet on that 59,000 number David. Haven’t your many policy officers told you of this aspect or is that you simply don’t care? What are your HA members going to do with these 59,000 properties now? Oh dear you hadn’t thought of that either had you in your zeal to cosy-on up to the Tory government!
Oh ok its only 58,919 two bed sheltered housing properties your members submitted to the 2016 Statistical Data Return in England I exaggerate …
Damn those facts can be really pesky can’t they David and even I was surprised at this 58,919 two bed properties in sheltered housing and just how many (mainly) pensioners will be severely fucked over by your critical friend strategy with the Tories.
I say mainly pensioners because sheltered housing tends to take people over 55 and a fair percentage of them will not be pensioners. Oh dear that means your member housing associations will have to radically change their allocation policies so that only pensioners ever get allocated a sheltered housing property won’t they? Hmm, I wonder if the 18% churn of sheltered housing properties a recent in-depth study from one local authority is a good average of new sheltered housing tenants per year?
If so then that’s 18% of 2016/17 sheltered tenants, a further 18% from 2017/18 and a further 18% in 2018/19 that will see 54% of all sheltered tenants in place when the LHA Maxima Cap starts in April 2019 – yes the same policy you decided NOT to challenge because of your critical friend (sic) relationship with the Tories – will be hit on day 1 of this ideologically driven madness!
As I always say and will keep saying those facts are so damn pesky aren’t they David Orr?
Quite why you have chosen to focus your challenge (ahem!) on the number of new sheltered housing properties (the bricks and mortar) rather than the fact that so many sheltered housing residents (actual people who seek a home!) will be so fucked over is the starkest of stark statements about your choice. Yet that is precisely what you did last week David as I stated here.
Starts at HOME? You have no concept of what home means David Orr still hey I note today you have a new slogan called Creating Our Future … but boy oh boy what a future YOU have created for your member housing associations with your critical friend brown-nosing policy with the Tories that mean your housing associations are deep in the smelliest brown stuff never mind your faux concern for vulnerable people such as the pensioner …
One tiny footnote. Some HAs have a critical exposure to the LHA Maxima Cap in areas other than the pensioner and particularly “the disabled.” Yet none of them mention one very critical fact that emerged from the Family Resouce Survey in March 2017 – the huge increase of those classified as disabled and those classified with mental health issues from 2013 to 2015 who will critically – yes that word again – not have factored into the claimed scale of the sector that the government use as the basis for the LHA Maxima cap policy. Those respective 18% and 22% increases and in such a short space of two years that see well over a million new households represents huge increased demand on supported housing which is NOT included under the LHA Maxima Cap policy intent of capping supported housing revenue funding.
The ‘sector’ cannot afford to accommodate these additional 1.4 million people in either general needs or supported housing provision because of the critical friend relationship or as it is correctly seen David Orr’s couldn’t give a shit about people and only cares about new bricks and mortar in the build build build and other commercially driven private sector road he has been steering his sheep down …