In March 2021, the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities released the Sewell report. the Inside the accommodation The Race and Housing Editorial Board would like to join with the many others who have spoken in expressing their disappointment and disbelief at this report, and in stating that institutional racism exists in the UK, as accepted previous commissions – Macpherson, Lammy, Marmot and Williams. As such, the report does not reflect the lived experiences of blacks, Asians and ethnic minorities in the UK.
The report has, at this point, been heavily criticized, including within the housing sector in statements by BME National and Shelter, as well as others such as the Runnymede Trust. The panel shares many of these criticisms.
The Sewell report did not focus on housing and barely mentioned housing, except for homeownership. This was a missed opportunity, because as the industry is well aware, having access to decent housing that you can afford is essential to give you the stability you need to put down roots, get decent jobs and for children to succeed in life. their studies and fulfill their aspirations.
The lack of decent and affordable housing – which is a problem across the UK, but disproportionately for blacks, Asians and ethnic minorities – plays a crucial role in why opportunities are lost and aspirations are lost. not satisfied. The report itself acknowledged, without exploring the implications, that “Britons belonging to ethnic minorities are more likely to live in persistent poverty and overcrowded housing”.
It is important that policy – including housing policy – is not designed with this in mind. Examples of this include the focus by government and industry on building new homes for home ownership, which are often beyond the reach of ethnic minority communities due to economic and wealth disparities in the UK. United.
“We are asking the sector to ask itself questions about how and what it prioritizes in the use of its resources to respond to those who need housing the most. What steps are your organizations taking to address the racism and disparities faced by ethnic minority residents living in your communities and at home, and staff working in your organizations? “
During the pandemic, another example occurred: the focus of funding from local authorities on street sleepers. This investment was necessary and welcome. However, funds were not provided for other homeless groups, such as families and people living in temporary housing with shared facilities, although this clearly put them at risk of COVID-19. . One in three homeless households is from ethnic minorities, compared to one in seven of the general population.
The committee wishes to address this statement not to the government or the Sewell Commission, but to the housing industry. The report was a missed opportunity. He failed to seize the opportunity to meet the challenges to co-design a new way forward, and to think and act differently in partnership with those who can bring about the change.
However, this is something the housing industry can act on, regardless of the report’s disappointments. Institutional racism is a significant problem that our tenants and staff from ethnic minorities face. It contributes to poverty among people from these backgrounds and hinders their ability to meet their aspirations.
We ask the sector to ask questions about how and what it prioritizes in the use of its resources to respond to those who need housing the most. What steps are your organizations taking to address the racism and disparities faced by ethnic minority residents living in your communities and at home, and staff working in your organizations?
Are your organizations’ investments directed to the regions and communities most in need of housing? Have you asked at the board and management level: “Why are ethnic minorities overrepresented in statistics on homelessness, in overcrowded housing and in precarious private rented housing?”
To look inside, what is the ethnicity pay gap in your organization and will you commit to publishing it? What is the ethnic breakdown of staff at different levels in your organization and will you publish this?
Who is the race and accommodation editorial committee?
- Adunni adams, Delivery Manager at Catalyst
- Farida Aslam, Senior Warden (Seniors Services and Community Investment) at Vale of Glamorgan Council
- Cym D’Souza, Managing Director of Arawak Walton Housing Association and President of BME National
- Sian edwards, team leader for temporary accommodation (PLS and hostels) at the Kingston Council
- Lorri holding, Head of Customer Service at Warrington Housing Association
- Shahi Islam, Affordable Housing Subsidy Manager at Homes England
- Dilip Kavi, Managing Director of PA Housing
- Olu Olanrewaju, Associate Director of Altair International
- Jahanara Rajkoomar, director of community investment at Metropolitan Thames Valley
- Jitinder Takhar, Managing Director of Homes for Lambeth
- Rosalind Ugwu, independant consultant