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York housing on agenda in poverty fight
THE role of housing in tackling York’s poverty problems is being put in the spotlight next week.
City of York Council’s Housing Week 2013 will focus on preventing and addressing deprivation and the part housing has to play, with organisations across the city getting involved in the five-day programme intended to raise awareness and debate issues.
It will also allow residents to take immediate steps towards improving their housing and financial situation, with the chance to join professionals from around the UK in discussions about finding a home, the impact of welfare reforms, homelessness, health issues and housing options for older people.
Feedback from the week, which follows last year’s inaugural event, will be studied by the council and used as part of work to drive forward initiatives to combat poverty, a strategy backed by The Press through our Stamp Out Poverty campaign.
Housing Week runs from Monday to Friday, with the keynote event being the Housing Summit on October 18, chaired by Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the council’s director of public health and wellbeing.
Organisations and groups involved include Barclays, York Housing Association, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Yorkshire Housing, Tees Valley Housing Group, My4Walls and residents’ associations across the city.
It is also being supported by South Yorkshire Credit Union, the England Illegal Money Lending Team, North England Civic Trust, the University of York and North Yorkshire Police.
Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for health, housing and adult social services, said: “The link between the supply and quality of housing and financial wellbeing is string and, with welfare reform added to the mix, the potential for poverty and financial and social exclusion deepens.
“In a popular city with high private sector rents and a shortage of social housing, we want to explore new solutions to these challenges. This week gives lots of opportunities for residents and housing professionals alike to take action and work towards solutions.”
Spotlight on deprivation
• Speakers at next Friday’s Housing Summit include former Bradford Vision chief executive officer Elaine Appelbee, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust executive director John Hocking, and Wakefield District Housing managing director of operations Steve Rawson. It will include workshops on improving residents’ access to affordable finance, digital inclusion, a new campaign on energy efficiency and fuel poverty and an anti-loan shark charter
• Seven advice and coffee sessions will be held every day of Housing Week at Acomb Explore, Bell Farm Social Hall, Clements Hall, Sanderson Hall and Foxwood, Tang Hall and Burton Stone Community Centres, with advice on banking, housing options, energy bills and welfare changes • The My4Walls camper van, which will be in Parliament Street from 11am to 3pm next Monday, will lay out affordable housing options in York
• The Tenancy Fair at the council’s West Offices HQ between 10am and noon next Tuesday will outline what people can expect from renting and tips on saving energy and money as well as resolving disputes
• A Landlords’ Fair will look at new accreditation rules and letting to students
• The council and the England Illegal Money Lending Team will launch a Loan Shark Charter at an event called Small Changes, Big Savings at Bell Farm Social Hall next Tuesday between 10am and noon. South Yorkshire Credit Union will also be at the event and anybody making an appointment to open an account with them during Housing Week will have the £5 joining fee paid for them
• The week also includes a property swap-shop for social housing tenants, the Citizens Advice Bureau’s AGM, more details of how empty and underused space above city-centre shops can be turned into housing, and discussions about homelessness and links between housing and mental health.
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