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Together, we will support residents to access housing in Knowsley

by Jonathan Kearney

That’s the message coming out loud and clear from Knowsley Council and social housing providers in the region who met recently to look at how they can work more closely together to tackle the demand for affordable homes.

Knowsley Council has worked hard in recent years to increase the supply of new homes in the Borough.  More than 4,000 properties have been built in Knowsley over the last five years, and 25% of them have been classed as “affordable housing”.  Despite this progress, the demand is still exceeding the supply.  In view of the additional pressures arising from the cost of living crisis, Knowsley Council wants to take further proactive steps to tackle the issue head on.  The recent Housing Roundtable event was aimed at understanding the scale of the challenge and starting work to tackle it.

The Council’s Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member and the Executive Director (Regeneration and Economic Development) hosted the event, which was attended by senior representatives from eight registered social housing providers from across the Liverpool City Region.

Councillor Tony Brennan, Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member, said: “Knowsley is a really popular place to live.  We have stable communities and lots of people wanting to move to the area to set up home.  Our population has grown more over the last 10 years than anywhere else in the City Region and also more than many other places in the North West.  We want to do all we possibly can to ensure that our residents – and also those wanting to move into Knowsley – have access to social and affordable homes.  But we can’t do it on our own – which is why we brought key partners together to discuss the challenge.  Working together, I am confident that we can tackle the issue head on.

“We have listened to our communities and have brought key partners together to identify solutions to the issues which our communities are facing.  This work will also inform our Knowsley Offer – a package of support to help our residents to thrive.  Ensuring that there are sufficient homes to meet local needs is a key priority for us.

“The Roundtable was a really productive session with lots of positive and constructive contributions from our registered provider colleagues, and I am looking forward to working with them in the coming months.

“The event focussed on opportunities to increase housing supply and free up more social housing properties to support those residents who are currently on the Housing Register.  This includes the establishment of a Housing Investment Fund of up to £5m initially, aimed at improving access to social and affordable housing.  The exact nature of how we use this Fund will be developed with partners over the next few months.”

The Housing Roundtable event is part of work to develop the Knowsley Offer – a package of support and interventions that will address the current needs of the community and support them to thrive in the coming years.

A number of ideas were proposed at the event and a further follow-up event has been arranged for September 2022 to move these ideas forward and to ensure that agencies work together with local communities to support residents and improve access to housing in Knowsley.