This comes from a Westminster inquiry requesting better offers of accommodation in terms of both quality and location.
Giving evidence in the House of Lords to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Older People investigation into the regeneration of outdated sheltered housing, Lee Bloomfield also called for more research into the challenges faced in local authority areas with a high percentage of BAME residents.
He said MHA – which owns just over 1400 properties in Bradford and Keighley but has more than 2,000 people on waiting lists – has adopted a “patch and mend approach to try and keep older people in their current homes” including adaptations where appropriate.
Mr Bloomfield continued: “Intergenerational living – the old assumption that people from BAME groups look after their older parents and grandparents at home – is an oversimplification. It can no longer be expected that extended families will take on the sole responsibility for their relatives as they themselves grapple with the demands of contemporary modern life.”
The MHA chief executive told the inquiry that “one size fits all does not work for all groups and places,” adding, “we need better choices for older people from BAME communities and we need different solutions.”
And he cited Leeds Jewish Housing Association as “a great example of integrated housing, housing support and on-site care framed around a community centre providing culturally sensitive services such as a synagogue on site, a café and restaurant, and arts and culture activities.”
This approach, he argued, has played a positive role in tacking isolation in the Leeds Jewish community and “is a model that can be adapted to wider BAME communities.”
Mr Bloomfield said that a balance needs to be struck between repurposing existing housing stock and building new affordable properties. But he warned: “Opportunities under Homes England’s new strategy around regeneration of existing stock is welcome, yet older people do not feature in the new Strategic Plan.”
He told the inquiry that, since its establishment in 1986, MHA’s mission has always been to provide larger family homes predominantly for the South Asian community, “but it cannot be ignored that older people from BAME communities have an increasing housing and care need yet lack the choice to culturally downsize into smaller and more manageable homes.”
The MHA chief executive concluded: “We recognise that the majority of mainstream providers of older people’s accommodation are not meeting the cultural needs of all BAME communities. There needs to be a financial incentive to move forward by way of grants from Homes England that reflect the scale of what is needed and offers solutions to address the growing problem of outdated older