Fri 26 January 2018
Colne resident Adeoye Ahmed has told the Government about the issues facing social housing tenants as part of a top level initiative ordered by the Prime Minister.
Ade, 43, who works and lives in Colchester, with his partner and three children, was invited to a discussion with the then Housing Minister Alok Sharma - along with tenants from London housing associations.
It was part of an engagement roadshow with tenants across England, announced by the Prime Minister last summer following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Ade, a member of Colne's Resident Scrutiny Team, said: 'Everyone around the table from London felt landlords did not listen to their tenants, that they did not have a voice and did not interact with their neighbours.
'It felt like everyone was agreeing they are not being listened to, but had no facts to back this up though. I did not share that view, there is a very different view in Colchester. Colne has performed pretty well on health and safety. The information is out there, they alert tenants when they need to know things and I feel confident fire safety is in place.
He said social housing tenants wanted to be able to solve their own issues by working with their neighbours. 'They want to be independent but we don’t have a platform because we don’t know our neighbours any more in modern society,' he added.
He called for tenants to be pro-active and sort minor issues - such as noise nuisance, dumped rubbish and neighbour disputes out themselves - rather than relying on their landlord.
Colne said it will spearhead this in the block of lats where Ade lives by helping them set up a platform like a closed Facebook group.
Ade went to the event because he wanted to know what the Government was doing in terms of social housing.
'I wanted to know how the Government is trying to meet the expectation of people who need an affordable home. Alok said the Government was doing a lot of work to solve many housing problems. The group who met him were clearly seeking change. Alok promised he would put our ideas forward and write to us all individually.
This has really helped me get interest in housing issues and use my experience back to my community to make a difference.'
Helen Gregory, Operations Director at Colne Housing, said: 'Ade has provided some really great solutions and we will do all we can to empower him to take them forward. Colne is all about enabling independent living and providing services which meet individual needs. If neighbours are empowered to shape their own solutions it will mean we can focus on supporting residents with more complex needs.'
The roadshows will help the Government build up a picture of issues tenants have raised about social housing to identify common concerns, The current Housing and Planning Minister Dom Raab MP will use them to develop good practice and inform the Green Paper on Social Housing due in Spring 2018.
Any social housing tenant can have their say by taking part in this survey by January 31.