MPs – please stop Sanctuary Housing
June 8, 2013 36 Comments
The uselessness, lies, rudeness, threats, bullying and generally corrupt behaviour of Sanctuary Housing Group (includes Sanctuary Housing Association, Sanctuary Care, Sanctuary Management Services and others) over the last few years are extensively documented in a large number of personal accounts from people across England and Scotland on my previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law? Sanctuary’s unprofessional and excessively corporate behaviour continues to affect many – tenants (including the vulnerable and elderly), relatives, students, property-owning neighbours, their own front line employees, and others. Common complaints are poor maintenance and a lack of repairs to badly neglected homes, “which are now becoming the new slums” as one observant Sanctuary employee put it. (“In local authorities, qualified staff are on hand all the time to give their professional advice, Clerk of Works and their teams. These were lost when the housing stock was taken over by Housing Associations, and their short term financial gain without costing out the total overall running costs of their acquired housing stock. Which are now becoming the new slums.” March 2011) Some examples in the press over the last few months:-
In contrast to their neglect of older homes and tenants, Sanctuary is heavily involved in the increasingly controversial Affordable Homes Programme (affordable for whom?), having received £90 million from the government in 2012.
Sanctuary Group is a very big organization, now with 94,000 homes across England and Scotland, and of course some people have positive experiences of them. Also, I know from my own experience that working in areas such as supported housing and care can be difficult. But there is obviously a real and very serious problem with the culture of this organization and the attitudes of some of its staff. Many people’s serious complaints are often ignored and Sanctuary’s behaviour often appears to be completely immoral or worse.
Many people’s lives are being damaged by a registered charity that regularly makes over £20 million profit, that pays its Chief Executive over £280,000, and that pays no tax. It looks like Sanctuary has got too big and too greedy to function properly.
Last week, I read that the group of MPs that monitors the work of the Homes and Communities Agency has launched an inquiry into the regulation of social housing in England. The inquiry will examine the work of the regulation committee since it replaced the previous social housing regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, in April 2012. Unfortunately, as usual, this looks likely to be concerned with financial regulation only. The actual quality of services provided by a large and impersonal housing association such as Sanctuary rarely seems to be questioned or confronted.
As a result of complaints from constituents, many MPs are now aware of the widespread incompetence and dishonesty of Sanctuary Housing Group. Sanctuary often seem to be more concerned with building their empire through property speculation, rather than looking after tenants, their properties, and their communities. These MPs and others need to fully investigate Sanctuary (and if needs be, other large housing associations too) and declare them unfit for purpose. Current regulation is totally inadequate. This is a scandal.
The MPs pictured here, along with many others, have all either directly experienced problems with Sanctuary through the complaints of constituents, or else are well aware of the general issues with large profit-driven housing associations.
Is there an existing All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) or other Parliamentary Committee that can take this on?
MPs – Robert Goodwill and Ben Bradshaw in particular – PLEASE TAKE ACTION!