Brokenshire backs big role for BME associations

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has said the work of BME housing associations is vital for the future.

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James Brokenshire has applauded the work of BME housing associations in a Lords reception.

Speaking at the celebration of 30 years of BME housing, the Housing Secretary said “Britain is a better country” for the work that the sector has done.

Speaking about the importance of black and minority ethnicity housing associations, Brokenshire praised them for the “huge strides in not just promoting equality and diversity within the housing market, but also helping build the strong, integrated communities that we all want to see.”

Acknowledging that much more still needed to be done, Brokenshire called on the sector to “work together” with government to achieve a shared goal.

He said: “BME housing associations have done much to meet their needs and provide culturally sensitive housing and support services.

“Your strong local links and presence in some of our most deprived communities, leave you well-placed to do this and to also undertake valuable work to help recent migrants and refugees settle and integrate.

“You are to be highly commended for this and the wider work your housing associations do to drive innovation and good practice on community issues and to also provide diverse role models at a senior level.”

Outlining what the government have done to “fix the broken housing market”, the Housing Secretary added that the measures will “benefit everyone, especially BME households facing some of the sharpest housing inequalities.”

He added: “Your role as housing associations is vital to this – yes, as regards building more homes, but equally to help us build thriving, diverse, cohesive communities.

“And this, perhaps, is your greatest achievement – and the greatest lesson for the wider housing sector, which can learn from your insight and experience to ensure that, in the services it provides and the leaders it chooses, it fully reflects the society it serves.

“I want to see all parts of the sector bringing people from different backgrounds together to break down barriers and combat isolation.

“We’re supporting this work through our new Integrated Communities Strategy.

“This aims to ensure that everyone, regardless of who you are and where you’re from, can make the most of the opportunities that our country offers.

“These opportunities very much include a decent, affordable place to call home and the chance to build a better life.

“The people of this country deserve no less.”

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