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New focus required to improve the quality of life.

Byline: Alison Thain, Chief Executive, Tees Valley Housing Group

Once more, as we enter a new year, I feel I can look back on a successful year and forward to the challenges which lie ahead of us in the social housing sector, not just in the coming 12 months, but during the next four years.

A recent National Housing Federation report lay out the task which lies ahead as North-east house prices are set to rise to an average of pounds 210,000 by 2011.

This 67% rise in six years comes at a time when a household income 75% higher than the regional average is already needed to afford the average house price.

This and the fact that many of the homes being built in the North-east in recent years are unsuitable for young families struggling to get on to the property ladder. A change of Government policy, mixed with a concerted effort by everyone involved in housing, is needed to make the shift back to affordable homes suitable for families to thrive.

That is the context in which the social housing sector moves in to 2007, as well as with a need to focus on the requirements of people with special needs, including young mothers, pensioners and disabled people.

In 2007, we aim to build upon the services for such groups with developments including the new units for young mothers we are building in Bishop Auckland and through work to help families in the Tees Valley who have been relocated due to problems with anti-social behaviour.

This last group was the focus of a conference in 2006 which saw regional and national experts gather in Middlesbrough to discuss the way ahead when tackling this problem.

It is issues such as these, which affect whole communities, not just individual households, that have brought about a change in emphasis for Tees Valley Housing Group in the last 12 months. Rather than simply being a landlord, we have evolved into a community investment agency, looking at a broader picture than simply bricks and mortar.

With this, and the challenges which lie ahead, we move into 2007 with a greater vision of how we can help improve the quality of life for people across the region and our work does not stop when our residents step out of their homes.

This is not just another new year, it is a new focus and a chance to do bigger and greater things and help build a better future for the North-east.
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Title Annotation:News Tees Pride
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2007
Words:418
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