Notting Hill Genesis, along with our partners in the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations, is calling for the private, public and charitable sectors to join together to build low cost Homes for Heroes, to thank our heroic essential workers who’ve kept Britain going during the coronavirus outbreak.
Inspired by the ‘Homes fit For Heroes’ programme after the First World War, the group has set out a broad outline of how 100,000 new affordable homes for these workers, could be built throughout the country. The G15 stand ready to deliver but would be able to do much more in partnership with the Government, the private sector, local councils, health trusts and charities.
From NHS staff, to care workers, teachers, refuse collectors, delivery workers and many more, Homes for Heroes would see the construction of good quality affordable homes which are well designed, energy efficient and digitally connected. The homes should be equipped with private outside areas and access to high quality green spaces. They should be affordable to heroes on the lowest incomes and include options for essential workers to buy an affordable home of their own – something that is out of reach in many of our cities.
To work at scale the efforts of housing associations would need to be supplemented by a large programme of public and corporate giving, innovative use of public land, planning flexibilities and an expansion in manufacturing capacity to build high-tech homes in factories.
Precision manufactured homes would be faster, greener, cheaper and better quality and give an economic boost to the parts of the country that needs it most. As well as providing good quality places for our essential workers to live, a sustained Homes for Heroes building programme would support economic and social recovery.
The G15 is already housing many thousands of essential workers. Social housing is home to one third of London’s police officers and ambulance staff, and one third of workers in care-related jobs.
The G15 has created a report on how Homes for Heroes can be delivered, resting on four building blocks:
1. Create a national programme of low-cost homes prioritised for the heroes who have put themselves at risk to keep us alive and healthy throughout this crisis.
2. Deliver an initial burst of thousands of homes within months, by matching government funding with housing association resources to make completed homes and those under construction available on a low cost basis for essential workers
3. Support a high-tech manufacturing base to create jobs across the country - powering a long-term ambitious programme to deliver the low-cost homes our heroes needport a high-tech manufacturing base to create jobs across the country - powering a long-term ambitious programme to deliver the low-cost homes our heroes need,
4. Spread the costs across society by part-funding the homes through public giving, public land, government funding and housing associations’ resources.
Kate Davies, Chief Executive of Notting Hill Genesis, said: “We appreciate the selfless dedication of essential workers who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect the health of the nation and to support us during the lockdown and after.
It’s time to start a conversation on how we can repay society’s debt to our heroic essential workers.
Helen Evans, Chair of the G15 and Chief Executive of Network Homes, commented: “Housing associations already provide homes to many thousands of essential workers out there on the frontlines of this crisis and we believe that we can play a part in giving meaningful thanks to tens of thousands more. We don’t have all the answers and will need to work with many others to get to the scale needed. We want to do our best to ensure that all our heroes have a safe, secure and affordable home to live in.
Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy and UK Government Modern Methods of Construction Champion for Homebuilding said, “This initiative sits well with the heightened mood of public gratitude towards the nation’s key workers. It also represents perhaps a unique opportunity to create a large scale and tenure diverse housing delivery programme, bringing central and regional government, local authorities, housing associations and private enterprise together in a unique way with a common goal. At the same time this initiative can unleash the full potential of the emerging advanced manufacturing modular housing market, delivering quickly at scale, a new generation of homes that are of high design quality, fire safety assured, sustainable and affordable.”
Rosie Toogood, CEO Legal and General Modular Homes “Modular construction will enable the delivery of high quality homes at a much faster rate than through traditional construction. In a post Covid-19 crisis environment, the speed of delivery will be more important than ever before. The modular construction industry is still very much in its infancy, but pockets of developments and innovative designs are starting to come to fruition. Momentum is building in government and local councils to make modular construction a success and grasp the opportunities that lie ahead. As the reputation of the sector grows, the desire to work in this progressive and disruptive industry will be enhanced. The Homes for Heroes campaign unites several great causes: creating quality homes for genuine heroes, powering innovation and skills right at the time we need to create jobs and pushing the bar upwards when it comes quality and sustainability. We're delighted to support this initiative."