23 Jun 2016

Housing and Planning

ACORN join Bristol Homes Board

Bristol City Council is pleased to welcome ACORN on to the city’s housing partnership board. 

The group, which campaigns for tenants’ rights, will join the Bristol Homes Board to give a voice to residents. 

The housing board has been set up to advise on, and help deliver, the city’s housing strategy. That strategy now incorporates Labour's manifesto pledges set out in the recent elections.

These include:

  • Setting up a council owned company to oversee housing projects across the city.
  • Building 2,000 new homes – 800 affordable – a year by 2020.
  • Establishing a ‘Bristol Bond’, allowing people to invest in local housing schemes.
  • Working with local communities to identify areas for redevelopment and bring forward appropriate council land to kick-start development.
  • Supporting the development of alternative housing initiatives such as co-housing and communal living that aim to tackle wider social challenges such as social isolation and community cohesion.
  • Establishing a Bristol Ethical Lettings Charter.
  • Bringing empty homes and buildings in Bristol into use.
  • Working with ACORN, housing associations, student unions and others to create a Bristol-wide Tenants’ Federation representing and supporting tenants across the city.
  • Minimising homelessness through early intervention and work with and support young people who are at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Supporting Community Land Trusts, local builders, eco homes and self-builds on sites already agreed by Neighbourhood Partnerships or Plans.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: "It is a core aim for us to ensure that the city's strategic leadership for housing is shaped by, and accountable to, people and partners on the front line.

 "ACORN is integral to making that a reality and I am delighted they are joining the Homes Board.

 "Empowering our voluntary community sector voice is key to our ability to deliver the homes and communities Bristol needs."

The partnership board was set up as part of Bristol City Council’s work with a range of key housing organisations to tackle housing issues in the city.

The Bristol Homes Board brings together representatives from different areas of the housing sector, and is chaired by Mayor Marvin Rees.

To achieve the ambitions set out by the new administration, Bristol will need to tackle a number of housing related issues over the next five years. 

There is an historic shortage of affordable housing and addressing this is at the heart of the new strategy.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said: “One of the central planks of Labour's manifesto is to improve standards in the private rented sector.

“I am delighted that ACORN has agreed to help us through the Homes Board to achieve that objective and to give a voice to private sector tenants in the new housing strategy."

ACORN organiser, Nick Ballard, said: “We're very pleased to confirm that ACORN is to sit on the Bristol Homes Board. 

“The involvement of community organisations such as ACORN is a must for a democratic, accountable and effective approach to solving our city's housing problems. 

“Only two years old and built from the bottom up, by and for the community, it is testament to the hard work of our members that we are now in a position to take the voices of private tenants to the centre of housing strategy in Bristol.”

The previous housing partnership, Homes4Bristol was disbanded in January after an independent review recommended making changes to the previous arrangements.