Leeds Jewish Housing Association

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Leeds Jewish Housing Association is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.ljha.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | LEEDS JEWISH HOUSING ASSOCIATION
Chief Executive MarkGrandfield
Queenshill Gardens, part of the original
estate of homes built by community
leaders in the 1950s for future generations
Founded in 1953, the Leeds Jewish Housing Association
provides affordable and safe housing primarily to the Jewish
community. With almost 500 properties in its portfolio,
the association caters for a wide range of individuals within its
community, including single people, families and the elderly.
Chief Executive Mark Grandfield explains to
The Parliamentary
Review
how LJHA has developed a strong legacy as one of the
oldest minority ethnic housing associations in the country by
engaging closely with the Leeds community.
As an organisation, we at Leeds Jewish are wholly committed to our tenants in
everything that we do and are extremely open and community facing. Our offices
are located within one of our sheltered schemes and many of our staff, and most
of our board, also come from the local Jewish community. This gives us a natural
sense of place and focus. Our belief is that if our tenants thrive, our community
thrives, and obviously if our community thrives, so do our tenants. We work
hard to support both our tenants and the wider community, ensuring everyone
canprosper.
It might sound simple or even obvious, but we know every single one of our
tenants personally and we build individual relationships that allow us to provide the
right support and services to suit them. Although we are small, we have invested in
our day-to-day interactions to sustain this. Our three-strong housing management
team support our general-needs tenants, whereas our sheltered tenants are
supported by a nine-strong housing support team who provide an on-site 24-hour
support function and a wide range of social activities.
FACTS ABOUT
LEEDS JEWISH HOUSING
ASSOCIATION
»Chief Executive:
MarkGrandfield
»Established in 1953
»Based in North Leeds
»Services: Building, maintaining
and managing social and
shared ownership housing,
including in-house repairs,
tenancy support and 24-hour
housing support provision for
sheltered tenants
»No. of employees: 27
Leeds Jewish Housing
Association
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | LEEDS JEWISH HOUSING ASSOCIATION
Chief Executive MarkGrandfield
Queenshill Gardens, part of the original
estate of homes built by community
leaders in the 1950s for future generations
Founded in 1953, the Leeds Jewish Housing Association
provides affordable and safe housing primarily to the Jewish
community. With almost 500 properties in its portfolio,
the association caters for a wide range of individuals within its
community, including single people, families and the elderly.
Chief Executive Mark Grandfield explains to
The Parliamentary
Review
how LJHA has developed a strong legacy as one of the
oldest minority ethnic housing associations in the country by
engaging closely with the Leeds community.
As an organisation, we at Leeds Jewish are wholly committed to our tenants in
everything that we do and are extremely open and community facing. Our offices
are located within one of our sheltered schemes and many of our staff, and most
of our board, also come from the local Jewish community. This gives us a natural
sense of place and focus. Our belief is that if our tenants thrive, our community
thrives, and obviously if our community thrives, so do our tenants. We work
hard to support both our tenants and the wider community, ensuring everyone
canprosper.
It might sound simple or even obvious, but we know every single one of our
tenants personally and we build individual relationships that allow us to provide the
right support and services to suit them. Although we are small, we have invested in
our day-to-day interactions to sustain this. Our three-strong housing management
team support our general-needs tenants, whereas our sheltered tenants are
supported by a nine-strong housing support team who provide an on-site 24-hour
support function and a wide range of social activities.
FACTS ABOUT
LEEDS JEWISH HOUSING
ASSOCIATION
»Chief Executive:
MarkGrandfield
»Established in 1953
»Based in North Leeds
»Services: Building, maintaining
and managing social and
shared ownership housing,
including in-house repairs,
tenancy support and 24-hour
housing support provision for
sheltered tenants
»No. of employees: 27
Leeds Jewish Housing
Association
43LEEDS JEWISH HOUSING ASSOCIATION |
COMMUNITY
We work collaboratively with other
community organisations to make a
positive difference. Just because we
deliver our services independently, this
doesn’t mean we cannot contribute
to wider change. We work alongside
healthcare providers, advocates, GPs,
family members, schools and charities
to try to drive wider improvements.
This is supported by a tremendous
group of local volunteers who help
with the hosting and organisation of
many of our events.
Although our focus is small, our
ambition is to be great. We are not
limited by our size and have far greater
aspirations for both our residents
andourselves.
Adapting to a change in
demand
Over recent years, we have had to
reflect and consider how we provide
our services as we have adapted to a
slow but steady change in demand and
the environment around us. It’s clear to
us that a decade of austerity politics has
dramatically changed the public sector,
leaving many gaps in service provision,
and this presents organisations like
ours with little option but to try to fill
these gaps before residents fall through
them. This is our moral duty to some
of our most vulnerable but cherished
residents. We have also had to adapt to
demographic changes as the population
becomes increasingly elderly and
infirm. Our average sheltered tenant
age is now well over 80 and steadily
increasing, so schemes that were built
to provide independent living for the
55-plus age group are now seeing
much older and more infirm residents
with a range of complex needs,
including dementia and even end of
lifecare.
The increase in the threshold for
nursing care and home admissions
has led to more care being provided
at home, something we must all be
aware of as landlords. What has felt
like a dramatic reduction in the scale
of and management of social care
provision from local authorities means
we can be faced with difficult decisions
of having to bridge this gap or leave
residentsvulnerable.
The dominance of national
housing associations
Although we are not a religious
organisation, we cater for many
religious individuals. Following the
Jewish faith requires living within
walking distance, roughly one
kilometre, from a synagogue as well
as access to Jewish facilities such as
kosher shops and Jewish schools. In
North Leeds, this means we have a
small area of operation. This is great
for community spirit but does narrow
down our development opportunities,
especially in purchasing land.
Reigniting our development
programme is a challenge but one
we are rising to. Since completing our
last build in 2012, purchasing land
to develop in North Leeds or even
competing for Section 106 properties
is becoming increasingly beyond our Tea and cakes in the
communal garden
of one of our seven
sheltered schemes
We are not
limited by our
size and have
far greater
aspirations for
both our
residents and
ourselves
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | LEEDS JEWISH HOUSING ASSOCIATION
financial means, especially when
national housing associations move
into town.
To adapt to this, we have adopted an
asset management view of our stock
that led us to the difficult, but ultimately
correct, decision to demolish some of
our own stock to build new homes.
This will provide us with new, modern
and fit-for-purpose housing for the next
generation. Our oldest stock is very low
density and this upcoming project will
replace 22 old dwellings with 85 first-
class, better and warmer homes.
It will be tough building homes in an
already populated estate. Even with
great developer partners, there is no
hiding the noise, dust and dirt caused
by a large construction site. This
project is now also a full-time job for
some staff to support those residents
needing rehousing, those residents
affected directly by the works and
finally those residents moving into new
accommodation.
The social housing sector, like many
sectors, is currently beset by mergers.
The large associations are becoming
larger, dominating the language, politics
and direction of our sector and leading
to questions about the relevance of
small providers. We proudly stand up
for small, local, focused and ambitious
associations across the country and
say you don’t have to be large-scale to
have a large impact. We see on a daily
basis the benefit to residents of having
a landlord who knows them personally,
a real relationship with frontline staff
and an office you can physically walk
into and talk about your issues in a
welcoming environment. This puts
tenants at the heart of our thinking
and service provision. There is a huge
difference when tenants are within a
two-mile radius rather than 20 or 200
miles from your headquarters. We
see our tenants as individuals and are
delivering genuinely tailored services to
every single one.
While we plan for the future, we
also have a huge focus on the here
and now. For those that need it, we
are the invisible glue holding lives,
families and communities together, not
through some distant call centre but
by literally being right here, a reliable
and constant presence in their lives.
Like we said: if our tenants thrive, so
do we.
If our tenants
thrive, so do
we
LJHA brings 100
members of the local
community together to
bake challah bread; the
towel was designed by
one of our tenants

www.ljha.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Leeds Jewish Housing Association. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.