Catalyst, alongside the rest of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations, is launching a call to 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.
The G15 has created a report on how Homes for Heroes can be delivered, resting on four building blocks:
- 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
- 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
- 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 need, starting to repay society’s debt
- Spread the costs across society by part-funding the homes through public giving, public land, government funding and housing associations’ resources.
Ian McDermott, Chief Executive of Catalyst Housing said: “Our essential workers continue to put themselves at risk to keep the country going through the coronavirus outbreak. We owe them a great debt of gratitude, and the G15’s Homes for Heroes initiative has potential to repay some of that debt. Our key workers deserve high quality homes that they can comfortably afford, where they can keep warm and feel safe. We as a sector can help make sure they get that.”
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.
Read the Homes for Heroes report here: g15.london/news/homes-for-heroes