In a recent article in 24Housing Alison Muir, Peabody’s Director of Operations for Thamesmead and South Region, says “the housing sector can learn a great deal from Amazon. We can make a lot of progress with new technologies to help improve our operations.”
Would this be the same Amazon which is exploiting their workers, forcing independent retailers out of business and refusing to pay the taxes they owe the British public?
Muir’s article is headlined ‘Stand and deliver’, so Peabody Family Voice presumes that our Housing Association aspires to take us back 3 centuries and behave like the highwaymen who held up travellers and took their money, had a ‘racket’ on road transport to make travelling less safe and more expensive, as carriers regularly paid them a ransom to go unmolested. Coaches were often attacked because of their lack of protection, including public stagecoaches, and the postboys who carried the mail were also frequently held up.
The philosophy behind this article surely explains why Peabody residents are being held to ransom, workers are treated badly, and the Housing Association is working hand in glove with big property developers.
The Housing Committee of the GLA will hold a question and answer session with chief executives from four of London’s largest housing associations on Tuesday 4 October.Submit your questions now.
End date of consultation: 04 October 2018
From the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan:
Housing associations are by far the biggest developers of affordable London homes. They build large numbers of market homes for rent and sale. However, they are not democratically accountable.
The largest London housing associations (sometimes called the G15) are vital partners to the Mayor if he is to come even close to delivering his housing targets. In recent years, many housing associations have merged to form much bigger organisations.
The Housing Committee of the GLA will hold a question and answer session with chief executives from four of London’s largest housing associations on Tuesday 4 October.
Committee members will use this meeting to examine the pros and cons of housing associations. We shall be asking associations about the needs they are now serving, the ways they are now raising and spending money, and how they are considering what these changes mean for their residents.
What would you like to ask the heads of housing associations?
You can let us know, by emailing a suggested question area to the Housing Committee at HousingCommittee@london.gov.uk along with a few lines of explanation.
Some suggested question areas:
Do housing associations solve problems quickly enough?
Are tenants properly involved in the running of housing associations?
What are the main issues residents face when dealing with their housing association?
How have the services residents receive changed in recent years?
Follow us @LondonAssembly and tweet about the meeting using #HousingAssociations
A group of fed-up Peabody tenants in Stoke Newington have formed a campaign group after years of complaints about the housing association’s repair work.
Peabody Family Voice was only launched in January but already has members from all over London.
A spokesperson, who did not want to be named, told the Gazette it was formed after tenants from St Kilda’s Road had attended a meeting with chiefs from the association over problems with their block.
The group are all former tenants of Family Mosaic, which is now part of Peabody. The spokesperson said: “We went to a meeting because we were so angry that scaffolding had been up for two years. It covered our garden area.
“Our complaint was escalated but they just offered 14 of us in the block £23 each for our troubles. I’ve lived here 23 years, as has my neighbour – some have been here since the block was built in the ’70s.”
The scaffolding eventually came down in April but the group feel maintenance of their homes and blocks is well below the standard expected, and has been getting progressively worse for decades. The group is also annoyed the switchboard has been centralised and say it’s almost impossible to get through to the right people.
The spokesperson added: “I was initially a tenant of New Islington and Hackney Housing Association, one of the first generation of housing associations that had a radical outlook and were for poor people and people with social needs.
“Back then the maintenance was done on a local basis. I had a man named Ted when I was living in a basement flat round the back of the reservoir and it was brilliant.
“I still like living in a housing association, but the local feel has gone.
A party is being held to celebrate the removal of this scaffolding. Disgruntled Peabody tenants from the group will attend, with a prize for the block that has had scaffolding up for the longest time.
“When it changed its name to Mosaic we were left out in the wilderness. And Mosaic then merged with a housing association called Family Housing.
“Then they really burst out of Hackney and Islington. That was the point at which repairs and maintenance started to go down.”
The group said 75 per cent of complaints at the meeting were about repairs, 20 per cent were about rent and five per cent were about other issues. At least six other people have had issues with scaffolding being left up for extended periods.
“Somebody somewhere must be paying for all this scaffolding,” they added.
The group wants to hear from anyone with issues.
A tongue-in-cheek party to celebrate the scaffolding coming down will take place a week on Sunday, with a prize for the tenants whose scaffolding was up for the longest time.
“We want to get together and basically let them know we will not put up with it anymore,” they said.
Others to experience issues with Peabody include 69-year-old Elizabeth Kelly, a tenant in Burma Road, who was in bed when her ceiling collapsed due to a leak in the flat above. It wasn’t fixed for three weeks.
And Gavin Watson, another tenant in Burma Road, has been in and out of temporary accommodation at the association’s expense for a decade because of issues with his roof.
He said: “I was only moved back to my property in February after six months in temporary accommodation.
“I have been decanted, in total, seven times in 10 years and have had two notable periods being forced to live in a hotel and it is always catastrophic for my mental health.”
Gavin is still not happy with the work, but is refusing to move out again because of the upheaval. He says Peabody is spending thousands of pounds on temporary accommodation and legal services to take him to court, when fixing the problem would cost a fraction of that.
A Peabody spokesperson said: “We have offered quite a few options over a long period of time to try and help Mr Watson, including providing temporary accommodation. There has been more than one problem with the roof and we understand Mr Watson’s frustration.
“Previous works were inspected and approved by an independent expert as well as our own surveyors. Unfortunately Mr Watson does not accept the conclusion.”
The spokesperson added Peabody wanted to resolve the issues but couldn’t unless Gavin gave workers access.
Peabody did not respond to a request for comment about the Peabody Family Voice campaign.