Manchester's housing put in order by major review

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 17, 2012

A "root and branch reform" of Jewish housing strategy in Manchester is advocated in a newly released report on overall provision.

Resulting from a review commissioned by Manchester Jewish Housing Association, it warns that Jewish families are being "forced to seek cheaper properties in areas outside the community, risking marginalising or isolating generations of young Jewish people".

The report was compiled by former Leeds Jewish Housing CEO Sheila Saunders, who identified "a real problem for young people getting on the property ladder and housing issues across all ages and religious divides.

"If we want our communities to remain stable, not just for people who can afford to live there, but for young people and those who are older and frailer, it's now essential, because of the economic situation, for Manchester's Jewish organisations to form partnerships."

Nava Kestenbaum, from the strictly Orthodox Agudas Israel organisation, has warned that many families were being forced into low quality rented housing.

Although it was unclear what a partnership would entail, "there is very good respect and co-operation across our organisations. Everyone has a positive attitude towards working together."

There are housing issues across all ages and religious divides

Last Friday, MJHA spearheaded an initial meeting of six Jewish organisations and three local authorities which are setting up a Manchester Jewish housing "superbody", with responsibility for a master strategy.

The Joint Commissioning Housing Partnership will be co-fronted by Manchester's largest welfare body, the Fed, and it is hoped that Agudas Israel will also take a prominent role.

Among its aims will be examining housing provision for the elderly, considering options such as revamping retirement flats.

There will be research into building social housing for large families, funded housing options to help young singles remain within Jewish neighbourhoods and providing accommodation for vulnerable adults with disabilities.

MJHA has closed its Carmel Court sheltered housing scheme, having experienced a sharp fall in tenants.

Co-chair David Marks said a housing business plan would be presented to key partners in May.

Last updated: 2:50pm, February 17 2012