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making housing better

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PRACTICE

The Chartered Institute of Housing has produced a book that coincides with and expands the issuing of new guidance from the DETR on housing strategies for local authorities in England.

In the future, it says, housing strategy will be about:

listening to the diverse views, choices and needs of local people

planning intervention in partnership with others

accounting directly to local people for the success of the action taken.

The book starts by describing the changing context of housing policy, and goes on to explore the dimensions of a housing strategy. The common strategic issues identified by local authorities are, it says:

poverty and social exclusion

disrepair across tenures

support to vulnerable people - community care

crime and community safety

affordability

homelessness

energy efficiency

youth issues

employment/welfare to work/ new deal

needs of black and minority ethnic populations

backlog of disrepair

best value

community development/user involvement.

For the future, they thought this would mean:

more emphasis on effective partnerships

more emphasis on stock transfer and other solutions to stock disrepair

more corporate working

a further shift to an enabling role

moving stock between tenures - both ways

more information/better data on demand/need

better information about needs/ aspirations of particular groups

more emphasis on attracting private investment

better means of prioritising

better consultation with communities - educating and creating dialogue

stronger links with regeneration

new thinking about how needs are met.

This chapter also gives some examples of good practice, from Glasgow, Gloucester, Kirklees, Edinburgh, Swansea, York, Bristol, Knowsley and Sheffield.

The book then moves on to the process of producing a strategy, from designing an effective strategic process through gathering and analysing information, generating and appraising options, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. There are more examples of good practice in each chapter, and useful checklists.

'Designing Local Housing Strategies: A Good Practice Guide' by Sue Goss and Bob Blackaby costs £25.00 plus £1.50 p&p from the Chartered Institute of Housing, tel: 01203 851700.

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