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Two Yorkshire Housing tenants got the chance to put their stamp on the future of social housing by contributing to a government consultant last month with the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler.

Alyson Evans from Skipton and Steve Mackenzie from Rotherham travelled to Newcastle on October 8 to take part in the consultation on the government’s Green Paper, which was also attended by Heather Wheeler MP, Minister for Housing and Homelessness.

During the consultation the groups discussed issues surrounding social housing, including complaints, the regulator and stigma. Alyson said she was honoured to be asked to attend the event.

“The discussions were quite informal as we were a mixture of people sat around a table rather than the whole room, including a host and a note taker from the Ministry on each table.”

Alyson said the groups discussed tenant voices and empowerment and ensuring landlords listened to tenants and treated them with respect, which they said would help reduce the number of complaints. They also talked about ensuring landlords were held to account when they failed to live up to their responsibilities.

Steve said it was the first time he had attended such an event.

“It was good to have the opportunity to discuss some matters with tenants from other areas and other housing authorities. I’m sure the Minister and the team got some good feedback from us but I felt a bit frustrated insofar as we were unable to have an open discussion across the whole attendees, we were only able to discuss two items among the table.

“Having said that, I am sure our contribution will be put in the mix. How much of an influence we have is to be seen, at the end of the day it is Government implementing the White paper and deciding what goes in.”

Alyson said: “I felt that it was very informative as I learned a few things from the government side, hearing the views of other tenants and learning that most of our views are the same.”

Steve agreed, adding: “Overall, it was a new and enjoyable experience. What the final result will be is yet to be seen.”

The consultation period ended on November 6.

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