09 Sep 2016

Housing and Planning

Advice network join Bristol Homes Board

The advice network ACFA has become the latest organisation to join the city’s housing partnership board. 

The group, which provides advice on social welfare issues across the West of England, will join the Bristol Homes Board to give a further voice to the local community. 

ACFA supports advice agencies who provide free, independent and confidential advice services and who are based in the area formally known as Avon.

The addition of ACFA follows the appointment of tenant’s rights group ACORN which joined the board back in June.

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.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said: “I am delighted to welcome ACFA to the Bristol Homes Board.

“Alongside ACORN they will bring the voices of the local community to the board, to help us develop future housing policy that will best serve the people of Bristol.

“Working with the voluntary sector is vitally important to allow us to deliver the best possible housing opportunities for the city.”

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.

Geraldine Winkler from Avon & Bristol Law Centre will represent ACFA (Advice Centres For Avon) on the Board.

She said: “Secure and safe housing is vital to the lives of people, and I embrace the aims of the Bristol Homes Board. I am keen to get involved in the implementation of housing policy in my home town, and help address the housing crisis with pragmatic solutions, drawing on my front line experience as a housing lawyer.

“Collaboration and communication between statutory bodies, advice and other agencies is a vital resource for exploring and solving problems.”

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