There’s no doubt that one of the bright lights to emerge from the darkness of a pandemic has been how the housing sector has come together to support the #HomesAtTheHeart campaign.
If ever there was a time that we need to speak with one voice then it is now.
Here at Yorkshire Housing our Business Strategy was launched just under a month before lockdown came into effect. A few months following the pandemic hitting, it was agreed to undertake a review to ensure that what we thought were priories remained relevant.
The review has concluded our Strategy is more relevant now than it was at the time of its original development and launch. The values and behaviours have served the business well during the lockdown period and have helped support the transition through a period of rapid change in both how we work and the services we provide.
The last six months have provided a rigorous test of the relevance and practical use of our values and behaviours in how we have responded to the unprecedented challenges we have all faced.
Our core purpose is about making it possible to have a place you’d be proud to call home. The last six months have highlighted the critical importance of having a good quality home that provides a safe space.
For many of us the post-Covid home will be part home, part workplace. More workspace will be needed in homes, or at least some flexibility in the space that is available.
We have an opportunity to plan for this new future. Remote working will change the homes of the future and we need to build homes that enable people to thrive and not just survive.
This is why supporting the development of Prosperous Communities is so crucial to the recovery of both the economy and also our relationships with each other.
We know that many northern communities have been hit disproportionately harder by the impact of COVID. This recent evidence submission from Homes for the North to the UK 2070 Commission highlights the regional differences in how COVID-19 has impacted communities, with unequal access to quality homes having contributed to this. This situation is being compounded by continued outbreaks and lockdowns, which are further impacting the local economies of these towns and cities.
Homes for the North has two specific policy proposals to offer this wide and complex task: housing investment and land supply. Both are about removing artificial barriers in order to share housing opportunity across the regions more effectively.
This strengthens the case for why more decisions to be taken locally through increased levels of devolved powers and funding. The concept of levelling up may have been born out of the last General Election but it takes on even more importance as we head into an increasingly uncertain landscape.