Home Matters - Autumn 2012
Merton Priory Homes Annual Resident Review 2011-2012 What community improvements have been made over the last year? We have set up neighbourhood regeneration action plan groups, to look at where investment is needed the most. The groups are made up of residents, stakeholders and partner organisations, who agree the priorities and develop programmes and much needed services. Recently we opened MTEC, the Merton Training and Employment Centre, which will provide construction training opportunities, information, advice and guidance for residents seeking work. After reviewing our community fund, we are now providing a range of small and medium sized grants for local voluntary groups, to support their vital work in the community. How much have you invested in Decent Homes in the last year? When Merton Priory Homes was set up in March 2010, we promised to deal with years of under investment by bringing standards up to the Merton Standard. This standard is much higher than the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. So far we have spent £44 million improving our The newspaper for residents of Merton Priory Homes www.mertonprioryhomes.org.uk Autumn issue 2012 This year we have asked residents from our Communication Connectors Panel what questions they would like to ask their Managing Director. Here is what they wanted to know………. homes. The number of our homes not meeting the Decent Homes Standard has fallen from 65% at transfer to 28%. How has the repairs service improved in the last year? Our routine repairs completed on time faced some challenges however we were able to significantly improve the number of repairs completed at first visit. Over the last 18 months, we have been reviewing our repairs and maintenance services, to give you the best service possible and to ensure value for money. Arrangements will soon be in place and we will continue to update you. Where will money be spent next year? Investment in our homes remains our priority and we shall continue to deliver our Decent Homes programme as promised. Many homes that have already had some improvements will need further work. Other residents are waiting for work on their homes to begin. Next year we will be getting to as many people as we can to deliver our transfer promise of bringing all rented homes up to the Merton Standard by 2015. We aim to spend around £28 million on improving homes. How will you be supporting residents facing benefit cuts next year? We’re organising events specifically for residents of a working age who we’ve identified will be affected by the cuts. Advice will be provided by our Income, Empty Homes and Neighbourhoods Teams along with Merton Council’s Housing Needs team, the Money Advice service and the Credit Union. Workshops are also being held for customers affected by changes to benefits. We’re looking to launch an incentive scheme for residents needing to downsize to avoid the ‘bedroom tax’ as well as providing advice on taking in lodgers, money matters, how to maximise your income and switching utility suppliers. We’ll continue to offer our free money advice service every Tuesday at our offices and sessions with the Citizens Advice Bureau. Picture top left: Pauline Ford, Managing Director of Merton Priory Homes.