Islington Tribune Article 2 Dec 2011
Housing comes home… to a round of applause
Published: December 2, 2011
by PETER GRUNER
THERE was applause from the public when housing agency Homes for Islington was finally laid to rest at a meeting of Islington Council’s executive committee. Executive member for housing Labour councillor James Murray said at the Town Hall on Thursday that the borough would save more than £1million by bringing housing “in-house”.
He added: “We’ve listened to our tenants and leaseholders and we believe we are taking the right course.
“If we take the management back in house then there will be more tenant involvement.”
Leader of the opposition Lib Dem councillor Terry Stacy said he would have preferred a more democratic ballot of residents, but he accepted the decision.
“My concern is that there will be sufficient tenant and resident engagement and that the quality of service will not deteriorate,” he said. “There is also an unrealistic timetable of just four months to bring housing in-house.”
Dr Brian Potter, chairman of Islington’s tenants and leaseholder groups, a regular critic of HFI, asked if £100,000 funding removed from his organisation, three years ago, would be replaced.
Dr Potter said: “We provide the main liaison between the council and tenants and leaseholders in the borough. It would be helpful to have an office.”
Cllr Murray said it was very early days and all aspects of bringing HFI in house would have to be discussed at a later date.
Islington Gazette 5 Dec 2011
Furious residents say they are being ‘ripped off’ over caretaking charges
Jon Dean Monday, December 5, 2011
Residents in Barnsbury have launched a campaign against the housing company that charges them £25 an hour for caretakers who are then paid less than half that amount.
People who live in Thornhill Houses, off Thornhill Road, were charged £25.46 for every hour caretaking work was done on their estate last year.
But Homes for Islington, (HfI) which manages the estate, paid its caretaking staff a maximum of £12.30 per hour, meaning it got £12.70 extra for every hour of work – it is claimed.
With 45,000 hours of caretaking commissioned each year from HfI’s Lyon Street housing office, the company are accused of taking more than £500,000 every 12 months more than it is paying the staff – but it insists the money is spent on other related costs.
Peter Cain, chairman of the Thornhill Houses tenants’ association, said: “It’s outright thievery. I got a professional quote and they told me £9 per hour.
“HfI rip us off over everything. To begin with everyone was really upset, but now it’s a battle.”
A spokesman for HfI said: “The charge to leaseholders for the caretaking service is based on the actual cost of delivering the service.
“The charge is made up of the caretakers’ salary including costs, equipment, materials and management costs relating to the caretaking service.
“Tenant management organisations (TMO) calculate their leaseholder service charges on the same basis as HfI.
“There are 25 independent TMOs within the borough with varying costs for this service.”
Mr Cain asks anyone interested in joining the campaign to leave their details at www.thtara.org/home/contact-us.