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GMHP members sign up to new anti-poverty pledge

Greater Manchester Housing Providers have launched a comprehensive new anti-poverty pledge that aims to alleviate poverty amongst our customers and tackle the inequalities and other root causes of poverty in our communities.

Our anti-poverty pledges cover six priorities – reducing inequalities, social inclusion, employment and skills, housing and homelessness, social value, and fair employment – and total 29 individual commitments.

Addressing fundamental causes

These commitments will ensure our members take a comprehensive and consistent approach to alleviating the immediate burden of poverty, but also addressing some of the fundamental causes of poverty across the city region – from tackling equality and diversity issues to increasing the supply of genuinely affordable housing.

The 24 housing providers across GMHP have pledged to support, promote and implement activities and initiatives that help us address these priorities, and work both individually and collectively to do all we can to meet the commitments made in the pledges.

Our communities must build back fairer

Sasha Deepwell, CEO of Irwell Valley and GMHP’s lead for poverty reduction said: “One of the founding reasons for GMHP members first coming together as a partnership almost ten years ago was to find joint ways to address poverty in our communities. Our first set of anti-poverty commitments, launched in 2014, responded to and built upon the recommendations made by the Greater Manchester Poverty Commission, and we further revised and expanded our pledges in 2017. 

“Now, in 2021, with Covid-19 and the shocking findings in the Marmot Report putting a sharp focus on the inequality and poverty that resulted in the worst off being hardest hit by the pandemic, we are launching these new anti-poverty pledges. It’s never been more important for housing providers to continue their leading role in addressing inequality and poverty and work with partners in the housing sector and beyond to ensure our communities build back better, fairer and more financially resilient from the pandemic.” 

A significant contribution

GMHP members have already made a significant contribution to tackle poverty in recent years, for example:

  • Last year GMHP members helped 7700 residents towards work, supported 600 apprenticeships, and secured 230 kickstart placements for young people at risk of long-term unemployment
  • Last year money advice teams across our partnership helped thousands of tenants secure over £22m in unclaimed benefits and grants they were eligible for
  • In the last 3 years GMHP members developed 5000 new homes in Greater Manchester, over half of which were for social and affordable rent. We are committed to delivering even more in the years ahead
  • Through our GM Housing First GM Homes Partnership Let Us & Rough Sleepers Accommodation Programme projects we’ve helped over 800 rough sleepers and homeless households into secure homes

You can find out more about fantastic poverty reduction work done by our members in the latest edition of The Poverty Issue.

BLOG: Read more about our efforts to tackle poverty. 

Our Anti-Poverty Pledges

Reducing Inequalities

We are committed to deepening our understanding of inequality issues, and to organisational change that will lead to improved outcomes for minority groups including those on low incomes. We will do this by:

1. Co-ordinating an approach to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage, in line with the principles of the socio-economic duty contained within Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010.

2. Adopting the principles of the socio-economic duty contained within Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 by assessing the socio-economic impact of our policy decisions. Specifically we will

  • Carry out meaningful impact assessments to understand residents’ needs, including periodic reviews and mitigating any adverse impact.
  • Use data effectively as a tool in decision-making and accountability.
  • Engage with residents, civil society, and voluntary and community sector organisations to better understand need and to provide critical challenge.

3. Extending the successful Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Leadership Programme to make leadership pathways within our organisations fair, and to provide mentoring that gives BAME staff a voice and opportunities from which they were previously excluded.

4. Carrying out an annual survey of member organisations to measure approaches to managing and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, data collection and monitoring activity, and sharing good practice examples from across member organisations

5. Providing clear and accountable leadership to drive the changes that are needed.

Social Inclusion

Poverty is a key driver of social exclusion, which deprives people of choices and opportunities. We will increase social inclusion through the provision of support and services to reduce the impact of poverty. We will do this by:

6. Providing and promoting money advice services along with advice on energy use and fuel switching to help tenants and residents maximise their income and minimise their expenditure.

7. Working with GMCA, local councils and VCSE partners to ensure that there is access to emergency food aid for those who need it, and to identify longer term, more sustainable ways where we can support access to healthy and affordable food for all.

8. Reducing the digital divide through the provision of training, funding, and support for digital inclusion measures, and by engaging with the GMCA Digital Inclusion Task Force to maximise the opportunities available for our tenants and residents.

9. Reducing the financial burden on new tenants aiming to make a house a home by offering a range of ways to access free or affordable furniture, white goods and carpets, access to support with decorating for those who lack the capacity to do it themselves, and through our void standards.

Employment and Skills

Our services and support can be a springboard to a better life for some, through our job creation and training opportunities, and support into work for those who are distant from the labour market. We will do this by:

10. Working collaboratively to identify and deliver accessible pathways for tenants and residents to access jobs in the growth sectors of Digital and Zero Carbon.

11. Working collaboratively to support underrepresented groups into our construction vacancies and supply chains.

12. Creating job opportunities for all ages, with an emphasis on supporting those from vulnerable and diverse backgrounds that have been significantly disadvantaged.

13. Embedding employment support work across all our activities.

14. Delivering pathways into entry level jobs for our own tenants and residents.

Housing and Homelessness

We want everyone to live in a home that they can afford. To achieve that goal we will support the GMCA to deliver the new homes people need, we will make a substantial contribution towards reducing homelessness in the city-region, and we will provide homes and neighbourhoods we can all be proud of for our existing tenants and residents. We will do this by:

15. Providing safe, warm, and dry homes that meet or exceed the decent homes standard and by improving the energy efficiency of our homes to help tenants and residents reduce their outgoings and to support health inequalities.

16. Working collaboratively on development sites and schemes to maximise impact and reduce costs.

17. Developing ways to use Modern Methods of Construction to accelerate delivery of good quality new homes.

18. Continuing to prioritise the delivery of low-cost rented housing.

19. Using LetUs, our GM Ethical Lettings Agency, to reduce homelessness by increasing the number of good quality private sector homes available to rent.

20. Providing housing with support for rough sleepers and homeless people through the Next Steps accommodation programme, Ethical Lettings Agency work plan and Housing First programme.

21. Adopting an ethical disposals policy to ensure that social rented homes remain in the social rented sector wherever possible.

22. Continuing to support the development of a Community Led Housing Hub which provides advice and support to the growing number of CLH groups in GM.

Social Value

Through our core business activities and wider grant making and charitable initiatives, housing providers have significant procurement and funding budgets. We will use our influence and our role as Anchor Institutions to achieve social value outcomes that are relevant to our customers and communities. We will do this by:

23. Maximising the value of our procurement and supply chain by adopting and implementing the principles in the GMCA Social Value Policy.

24. Identifying ways to develop a local GM-based and resilient supply chain

25. Building capacity and sustainability in the voluntary and community sector through the provision of grant funding and access to training opportunities for tenants and residents.

26. Continuing to monitor our spend with non-profit organisations.

Fair Employment

Alongside our commitments to tenants and residents we aim to be employers of choice, where our workforce has equal access to quality work that is inclusive, fairly compensated, offers security and flexibility and cultivates an environment where health and wellbeing thrives. We will do this by:

27. Paying the real Living Wage

28. Seeking accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation as Living Wage Employers.

29. Signing up to the GM Good Employment Charter

It’s never been more important for housing providers to continue their leading role in addressing inequality and poverty and work with partners in the housing sector and beyond to ensure our communities build back better, fairer and more financially resilient from the pandemic.