Affordable, safe and eco-friendly homes drive the agenda as Mayor of West Yorkshire meets with region’s leading housing associations

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, met with representatives from the 10 leading housing associations in West Yorkshire for the first time today (Thursday 3 June 2021). The group committed to developing a strong partnership and to progress joint housing priorities across the region

At a meeting earlier today at the Connect Housing offices in Leeds, the Mayor and housing associations agreed to work closely to deliver on the Mayor’s manifesto priorities, to:

  • Build 5,000 genuinely affordable social homes with sustainability at the heart;
  • Establish a homelessness strategy that ensures no one has to sleep rough, and that young people are supported when sofa-surfing into affordable accommodation;
  • Put housing at the centre of West Yorkshire’s ambition to become a net zero carbon economy by 2038 by reducing carbon emissions and tackling fuel poverty;
  • Set up a Dementia Ready Housing Taskforce to ensure all our older people’s housing and related services are fit for purpose;
  • Undertake an audit of accommodation available for those fleeing domestic violence, to ensure that there is safe accommodation for all those that need it;
  • Work with disability groups to ensure disabled people have better access to inclusive homes which meet their needs;
  • Develop a not-for-profit West Yorkshire Social Letting Agency that works for renters and landlords.

There was a strong focus on young people and boosting the education and training opportunities that West Yorkshire has to offer. The Mayor committed to Green Courses for young people to get the skills they will need to help deliver on the agreed housing priorities, such as retrofitting homes, with a particular emphasis on construction and engineering courses.

During the visit, the Mayor was introduced to staff from across housing associations, including a group of apprentices who had been given experience and job opportunities in the housing sectors. The apprentices also shared their own ambitions for the future.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “As someone who grew up in social housing, I know first-hand the value of having a safe and affordable place to live. Having a secure roof over your head, in a well-connected community, can act as a fantastic gateway to better jobs, better education and better life chances.

“I am deeply passionate about ensuring the housing sector meets the needs of our residents and will work with partners from the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership to develop an inclusive housing strategy that works for everyone across our region.”   

Helen Lennon, Chair of the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership and Chief Executive of Connect Housing, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to meet the first Mayor of West Yorkshire and explore how we can we work together on priority issues. 

“We have the skills and experience to help the Mayor develop new homes, tackle the climate emergency, create a dementia-friendly region and support those experiencing homelessness and domestic abuse.  The Mayor met with colleagues working within the West Yorkshire Housing Partnership, from apprentices to senior leaders, who specialise in those areas and we were pleased that she was able to hear their views.

“As social landlords we invest every day in local regeneration, improving health outcomes for people, tackling inequalities and supporting people into work and training.  Our partnership demonstrates that we know that by working together we can achieve so much more. We are well-placed to play our part in building a strong and successful future for the communities of West Yorkshire and we hope this visit is the start of a productive working relationship with the Mayor.”