Housing chief builds for future

By John Fisher, August 14, 2014

Although Leeds Jewish Housing Association has responsibility for 483 properties, it's a "much more intimate" organisation than new chief executive Lee Bloomfield is accustomed to.

The 44-year-old Mancunian has joined LJHA after five years as director of operations for Rykneld Homes in north-east Derbyshire. His 15 years of senior management in social housing also includes time as head of housing services at Eastlands Homes in Manchester.

Mr Bloomfield backs LJHA's 10-year business plan, focused on renovating existing properties. Some of the general housing stock dates back 50 years or more. Cutbacks have meant that few grants towards new builds are now available from the Homes and Communities Agency. The last build, of seven four-bedroom houses, was in 2011.

Dealing with a smaller number of clients would allow him "a closer working relationship with tenants and residents" and to "push up their satisfaction level". He also wanted to improve"bog-standard" communications, particularly with clients comfortable in the digital world - the LJHA portfolio includes affordable housing for younger people.

As LJHA does not attract legacies, rent collection remains the key source of income. He is targeting increased fundraising through social events.

Mr Bloomfield added that he was "really enjoying the community focus working for a smaller organisation allows. A lot of the issues are the same in a Jewish housing association. Being Jewish gives me the understanding of the community and issues faced."

Last updated: 12:48pm, August 18 2014