Rooker reveals £15 million BME bailout
Black and minority ethnic housing associations are ‘delighted' by the long-awaited announcement of a £15 million bailout to secure their financial viability in the face of rent-restructuring.
In a letter to the chief executives of all BME associations, minister for housing Lord Rooker wrote: ‘Up to a total of £15 million will be available for assistance, to be paid over three financial years starting from April 2003.'
The Housing Corporation is to administer the fund following a consultation exercise.
ARHAG Housing Association chief executive Ronnie Moodley said: ‘We are delighted that the minister has decided to give this money. We are now concerned about how the corporation will determine how it is administered.'
ROOKER: 'Up to £15m available'
pic: Anna Branthwaite
Mr Moodley said ‘debate' on rent-restructuring had been going on for two years already and any further delay would have a negative effect on associations.
Federation of Black Housing Organisations chair Leslie Laniyan said he had written to the corporation asking that a representative from the sector be included on the panel developing the fund delivery proposals.
‘If the FBHO gets on the working party, it will speed things up,' he added.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has asked that the assistance should be for BME associations only ‘in support of the capacity building role'.
Acting director of the FBHO head Jheni Williams said the organisation would be seeking ‘clarity' on this statement.
The organisation is also questioning Lord Rooker's statement that ‘BME-led associations in London should have no difficulty in implementing the reforms and maintaining financial viability.'
The announcement follows speculation that plans for financial assistance had been dropped despite a recent report by the National Housing Federation which found some of the largest minority ethnic RSLs facing financial ruin as a result of the reforms (Inside Housing, 28 June 2002).