Archive for June, 2009

Optima Cash Crisis ? New homes in doubt!

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Housing News |

News has reached Justice Not Crisis that Optima Community Association have failed in their bid for Social housing Grant to build the promised new homes on the site of the former Firebird public House.

Forward allocation Pool Applications submitted to the Governments Homes and Communities Agency(HCA) by Optima have received the reply  “It is considered that sufficient support for social housing has been made to the Attwood Green regeneration”

The agency which has a budget of £5 Billion per year was set up in December 2008 joining forces with the Tenants services Authority.

The remit of the new organisation was to create  “opportunities:

  • for people to live in affordable homes in places that they want to live in, and
  • for local authorities and communities to deliver the ambitions they have for their area”

Despite the support of Birmingham City Council it now seems that the new homes will not be built along with 47  homes for rent on the nearby Woodview Estate Edgbaston (Also managed by Optima)

This is another example of  Government promises to increase the number of Socially Rented Homes only for them to do nothing.  We have previously reported that the Government steals cash from Birmingham Council’s Housing revenue Account to subsidise other Cities.

After a 16 week occupation of the Firebird Pub this is a significant blow to the chances of increasing much needed rented homes in Birmingham. The Labour Government has failed Birmingham again!

The HCA have indicated to Optima that they may consider the Firebird site if the Socially rented houses are changed for shared ownership (Homebuy)  and then only if  Optima pay for them until the HCA have the money next year!

This is of no use whatsoever to people on benefits or low incomes in desperate need of a house as they will not get a mortgage even to buy half a house!

We will continue to monitor the situation and update as we know more …..

Some Good News

In March we highlighted the fact that there are thousands of empty properties in Birmingham and asked Birmingham Council to use its powers to bring them back into use. Birmingham City Council have just been praised for reducing the number of empty properties to 9,000 as reported on BBC’s Midlands Today on 25th June 2009.

This is a major step forward and we have to again congratulate Councillor John Lines and his Housing Department for this achievement. This is a significant start keep up the good work and ensure that powers available to you to force owners to give up properties empty for more than 6 months are used if necessary.

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