Housing provider One Manchester has exceeded its ambitions to build 500 new homes across south and east Manchester within five years, with a total of 663 new homes recently either completed, under construction, or with full approval to go ahead within the next few months.
At its inception in April 2015, One Manchester committed to provide more affordable housing and tenure options for residents across the city. Just three years later and faced with an unprecedented rise in homelessness across the city, One Manchester is doubling the target of its original pledge and is now committed to delivering at least 1,000 homes by 2020.
As a leading provider of quality homes, One Manchester’s mission is to act as much more than a social landlord. The organisation prioritises creating resilient communities and outstanding community resources, helping people to manage their money, gain new skills, start businesses and stay healthy as well.
With Manchester’s rapid expansion becoming more visible in the growth of major private developments and private rented accommodation, a lack of newer good quality and affordable housing is highlighting growing inequalities across the city.
To help tackle some of these issues, One Manchester is looking at ways to intervene in poorly managed and maintained private-rented sector homes, particularly in East Manchester. The organisation is working with its partners and stakeholders to develop proposals and is sponsoring a major conference in July, with the support of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, to bring together views on how interventions could work across the wider region.
One Manchester is also investing in ending the plight of entrenched rough sleeping in the city, by contributing towards the SIB (Social Impact Bond) with Trafford Housing Trust and Bridges Fund Management; a project which has now engaged over 500 rough sleepers and has so far resulted in over 60 people securing accommodation.
One Manchester’s Group Chief Executive, Dave Power, said: “We set out to be ambitious with our initial plan to build 500 new homes in five years, so to have surpassed this target with two years remaining is an absolutely incredible achievement by all of the team.”
In the three years prior to merger and One Manchester’s subsequent formation in 2015, Eastlands Homes and City South Manchester between them provided around 50 new build homes.
Mr Power adds: “The whole point of the merger was to pool our expertise and resources to help raise more money and drive efforts towards building much needed new homes across Manchester. It’s very encouraging to see from the results that this decision has proved to be so effective.
“However, the plight of the homeless and the ongoing national housing crisis mean we must never forget that huge price increases in the private sector mean that ordinary working people and families are struggling just as much to save for deposits or even just to afford their monthly rent.
“Our work across Manchester has never been more important to ensure that residents have access to high quality affordable homes, or to rent-to-buy and shared ownership schemes which help to make housing more accessible, as well as a number of market rent properties that allow reinvestment into community services and the local supply chain.”
One Manchester manages more than 12,000 homes in central, south and east Manchester, and has launched a number of new build housing developments over the past three years.
Most recently One Manchester announced the refurbishment and upgrade to 62 council-owned properties around Ben Street in Clayton. While at the end of 2017, One Manchester launched The Whitworths, its first shared ownership scheme – consisting of 34 properties – which has already sold out.
As well as creating new homes, One Manchester has also committed a £500,000 fund over the same five-year period to donate amounts ranging from £1,000 to £5,000, to community groups. The fund has developed into the city’s ever-popular Community Soup events.
Residents living in One Manchester’s localities are invited along to Community Soup evenings to share a hot meal, listen to pitches by community groups and get the chance to vote on which group should be awarded funding.
So far, Community Soups have seen £325,000 invested into more than 150 community projects, benefiting more than 5,000 people living across the city.
Mr Power said, “We’re remarkably pleased with everything that One Manchester has achieved in its first three years. We work alongside some amazing communities, and we’re really proud that everything we do creates a better place for residents to live and to enjoy their lives.”