Derby City Council and Derby Homes have joined a national campaign to make social housing a government priority in the coronavirus recovery.

“Homes at the Heart”, organised by the National Federation of Housing, the Chartered Institute of Housing, homelessness charity Crisis, the National Federation of ALMOs, and the Association of Retained Council Housing, will highlight the importance of affordable homes and secure tenancies as key to our national recovery. The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown – which left many people trapped at home and unable to work – has shown more than ever before just how vital social housing is.

The campaign is calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing and has a clear and simple message: social homes should be at the heart of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

So far, the campaign has reached over two million people on social media and has caught the eye of senior politicians and celebrities.

More than 50 organisations, from NatWest to Save the Children, Wilmott Dixon to Carers UK, have declared their support, showing that this is not just a housing sector issue. It’s about creating stable social foundations on which we can build a stronger economy and thriving communities.

The campaign identifies five priorities for national recovery:

  1. No return to rough sleeping.
  2. A new generation of affordable homes.
  3. Helping people to thrive at home.
  4. A new drive to decarbonise social housing.
  5. Change for communities across the country.

Throughout August and September, Derby Homes and Derby City Council are taking part in six themed weeks of action that highlight the detail of the social and financial good social housing is already doing – and showing how much more it could do with solid public and government backing.

Here in Derby, we’re already playing our part. Derby Homes manage over 12,500 council tenancies as well as hundreds of leasehold properties across the City and are working in partnership with the council to deliver even more over the next five years. Together, we aim to deliver quality, affordable homes that contribute to sustainable communities. Our staff work with tenants and Derby residents to offer advice and support in times of crisis, invest in the wider community, and enable access to affordable housing for the most vulnerable.

Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Housing, said of the campaign:

“Everyone deserves a safe, secure, comfortable place to call home. Not just now, in the middle of this crisis, but for the future. Investing in social housing – in all its forms – makes this possible. It will boost the local economy, create jobs and improve people’s lives when our nation needs it most.

In Derby, we have plans to deliver more than 500 homes over the next five years, whilst continuing to improve and adapt our existing stock. We also want to ensure that we provide avenues back into housing, for those who may be homeless or at risk of losing their homes. Putting a roof over someone’s head doesn’t just help them – it helps us all.”

Maria Murphy, Managing Director of Derby Homes, said:

“It is absolutely right that homes should be at the heart of our national recovery. During lockdown, our staff have spoken to thousands of people, many of whom have been extremely concerned about loss of income and the need to self-isolate to protect themselves and their families. It’s made it clearer than ever just how vital social housing and secure tenancies are for people’s physical, mental, and financial wellbeing.

We want to work with the government and our partners across the housing sector to ensure that a real investment is made in housing as we move towards getting our economy back to normal. Everyone has the right to a safe, affordable home where they can build positive foundations for their future.”