How Greater Manchester Housing Providers are getting ready for a post-pandemic world

Yvonne Castle, 05 August 2021

Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP) is made up of 27 housing providers that have homes within the Greater Manchester area. Together we provide one in five homes for people across the city region. 

Our organisations are all different shapes and sizes - large and small, general and specialist, Arms-Length Management Organisations (ALMO), Large Scale Voluntary Transfers (LSVT) or housing associations. Many are steeped in history like my own organisation, Johnnie Johnson Housing, which was set up by an RAF hero who wanted to build homes for veterans and people in their later life. 

GMHP members have worked together for many years, pooling resources, time and energy, but most importantly taking action to make a difference in communities around Greater Manchester. 

What makes GMHP different is that we have a Tripartite Agreement signed by our GM Health & Social Care Partnership, our GM Combined Authority and ourselves as GMHP. With health formally included in this, we can now really work together on making a difference to all aspects of people’s lives. A happy home is a healthy home.

We recognise the hardship many people have faced as a result of coronavirus.  One in ten of our Greater Manchester residents have told us that they have experienced at least one of the following:

  • They have had coronavirus.
  • They have lost their job since the start of the pandemic.
  • Someone else in their household has lost their job.
  • They have needed to borrow money during the pandemic.

That’s why we have developed a Covid Resilience Plan, which directly feeds into that of the GM Combined Authority. The plan focuses on major issues that Greater Manchester as a whole needs to respond to, building resilience and tackling inequalities revealed or exacerbated by the pandemic.

Our plan is people-focused with three themes: health, wealth and communities. Equality, diversity and inclusion are also woven into the plan, this is an important part of our approach.

Our ambitions over the next 12 months include:

  • Supporting employment, training and development with apprenticeships, kick-start placements and qualifications. Our focus here is on new programmes to support people into the zero carbon and digital industries, ensuring that we open doors for more women, disabled people, care leavers, older people and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) residents into these industries.
  • Delivering mental health training across our workforces and widening access to mental health services for our residents.
  • Continuing our efforts to end homelessness.

As we move away from restrictions relating to the pandemic, our view is one of continued caution. Greater Manchester does continue to have rising rates and GMHP colleagues are working around the clock, with the local authority, police, fire and voluntary services, as well as health colleagues, to keep people safe and increase vaccination levels. 

We have a lot of challenges ahead. Guided by our plan, however, we will continue to remain relentlessly optimistic in creating, with our partners, a brighter future for our Greater Manchester residents and communities.