Affordable homes may be route to levelling up society, Leeds housing leader says

Affordable housing must lie at the root of Government plans to “level up” society, housing leaders warn, as the social disadvantages faced by black and minority ethnic communities are highlighted in the pandemic.

Ali Akbor, chief exective of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise

Ali Akbor, chief exective of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise, said a lack of targeted funding to address inequalities has led to disparities today.

Calling on Government to reject austerity, he said investments must to be made and top of the list should be a commitment to building many more genuinely affordable homes.

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“Neighbourhoods with a high concentration of BME residents are often plagued by acute levels of social deprivation which impact on people’s health,” he said.

Ali Akbor, chief exective of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise

“BME families often live in overcrowded properties and there was little new money for affordable family homes during the austerity years.

“The coronavirus outbreak has rightly led the Government to find tens of billions of pounds to support businesses and workers – resources that were previously unheard of.

"But worrying times lie ahead in the UK including a recession, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already conceded will happen, and a likely surge in unemployment.

“Poorly paid workers, often of BME heritage, will undoubtedly be badly hit.”

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He highlighted a decision to release £6.4m for emergency accommodation for 90 per cent of the country’s rough sleepers as “a prime example of what should have happened long ago.”

“Austerity cannot be used as an excuse for health and financial inequalities ever again,” he said.

“The economic recovery has to be for everyone. People of all ethnicities must feel they have a stake in the brighter future that hopefully awaits.”


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