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Luton Borough Council

Equalities statement

 

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Housing Strategy 2019 to 2022 – equality analysis

Equality analysis details

  • Proposed policy: Housing Strategy 2019 to 2022
  • Equality analysis: Claire Astbury, Head of Housing Strategy & Development
  • Strategic Director: Patrick Odling–Smee, Service Director Housing
  • Department: Customer and Commercial
  • Date of review: July 2020

Overview of service user and key stakeholders consulted

  • Services users and stakeholders: key users of the department or service: internal departments of the council, strategic partners such as third sector organisations
  • Key stakeholder involved in the strategy: internal and external stakeholder including tenants panel, service users groups

Introduction

The council’s new housing strategy to 2020 is a cross-tenure housing strategy covering all forms of housing in the borough, including private, housing association and council housing.

It includes the provision of both new housing and existing housing, and also the housing needs of the borough.

The housing strategy sets out our long-term ambitions for the future of housing in the borough. We want our strategy to be about more than just bricks and mortar. We want:

  • the strategy to demonstrate the strong connections between housing and other services which are important to improving people’s day to day lives
  • housing in Luton to contribute to delivering jobs and growth, and helping to make the borough a healthier place

The strategy sets the vision, commitments and objectives.

To deliver its objectives, we will review progress on a regular basis.

Housing issues affect all residents in Luton. The strategy recognises there are certain groups who:

  • are less able to access housing of good quality, appropriate housing on the open market
  • may struggle to sustain a successful tenancy

The strategy focusses on how to increase the general supply of housing and also how to help those groups unable to meet their needs on the open market by targeting resources and services to create more affordable homes, make the best use of the stock available and intervene before crisis.

The strategy aims to have a positive impact on households/individuals from protected characteristic groups, especially those who may have particular issues accessing and maintaining tenancies/homes.

This section therefore concentrates on identifying the particular issues different groups are more likely to experience.

In writing this impact assessment, quantitative data from a range of sources has been considered, which forms part of the evidence base underpinning our strategy:

  • Business Intelligence Department, Luton Council – 2017 Mid-Year Population Estimate July 2018
  • Luton & Central Bedfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update – Report Findings Summer 2015
  • 2011 Census
  • The Growth and Changing Complexion of Luton’s Population, Mayhew Harper Associates 2011
  • Housing Allocations Policy Review 28th Dec 2017, Luton Council
  • Cordis Bright Research 2018

This section considers the potential impacts (positive and negative) on:

  • groups with ‘protected characteristics’
  • the equality information on which this analysis is based
  • any mitigating actions to be taken

Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (eg 32 year olds) or range of ages (eg 18 ti 30-year olds).

Potential impacts (positive and negative) of proposed strategy

We'll be seeking to increase the range of housing, housing options and support for older people to enable them to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, and as an alternative to residential care.

This will include increasing the supply of extra care sheltered housing specialist sheltered housing which provides support and care in the same premises, while enabling older people to retain their independence. We'll also develop more cross tenure housing options where there is evidence of demand.

We'll also provide high quality homes and tailored support to enable downsizers to move, many of whom will be older people. This will free up much needed larger homes for younger families, many of whom are experiencing overcrowding.

Many of the benefits of an 'age friendly' housing strategy, such as more integrated communities, better designed homes and neighbourhoods, benefit everyone, whatever their age group, and not just older people.

There is, however, a slight risk that focusing on age-friendly housing if solely looking at the needs of older people, may overlook some specific needs of younger populations, likely to be young families with children, or vulnerable groups.

This strategy acknowledges the needs of families specifically in ‘improving housing quality’, through encouraging private landlords to offer greater security, certainty and stability for their tenants, especially families with children.

We believe that our strategy overall will help people across all age bands.

Equality information on which above analysis is based

Luton is projected to experience an increase in the number of people aged 65+ and aged 85+. Set against this, Luton has a below average supply of elderly-focussed accommodation sheltered or extra care sheltered housing.

Luton has one the highest populations of young people compared to London and nationally.

Mitigating actions to be taken

We'll monitor the implementation of key actions in our housing strategy through the council plan, alongside any relevant action plan.

During implementation, it will be key to:

  • balance the needs of the ageing population against the demographic churn and continued population growth across all age bands
  • assess how younger groups and children will be impacted by the individual new housing developments and housing projects that will derive from this strategy

Specific work programmes, such as the development of new homes, are subject to detailed programmes of resident engagement and reports to Cabinet, which will include equality assessments.

A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed policy/decision/business plan

Through the new housing strategy we'll increase the supply of wheelchair housing and other specialist and adapted housing for those with disabilities.

We'll also ensure that all new housing is built to Lifetime Homes standards, easily adaptable as households’ needs change over time.

Poor quality housing is known to affect both physical and mental health. As well as building new homes to high quality standards we also have a programme of improvement works to our own housing stock.

While we've achieved the decent home standard by the housing strategy is more ambitious for the quality standards to be achieved for our housing in future, such as improvements in energy efficiency measures which will in turn help to combat fuel poverty. This will have positive health benefits for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Additionally through the new housing strategy we'll develop our housing services to be ‘more than a landlord’. That will include ‘going the extra mile’ for our residents including providing more individualised advice and support to our vulnerable tenants and residents.

However it's our belief that for most residents, the best route to health and wellbeing is through employment, and the strategy is designed to strengthen links between housing and relevant services that can assist in this goal.

There is a small risk that focus on age-friendly developments may overlook the needs of particular groups, such as those with learning disabilities. We've highlighted and addressed this in the housing strategy and we will be including housing support for people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable groups by:

  • connecting them to relevant services
  • contributing to helping them to live independent lives

Equality information on which above analysis is based

The number of older people with mobility difficulties is projected to increase by 17% between 2012 and 2020.

The number of working age people with serious physical disabilities is projected to increase by 23% over the same period, from 3,620 to 4,446. Current unmet wheelchair housing need stands at 543 households.

Mitigating actions to be taken

At this stage, we do not know how many disabled people (physically, with learning disabilities, or both) and people with chronic illnesses will be affected by housing developments. Implementation of the strategy will need to ensure a consistent approach for these groups.

We'll monitor the implementation of key actions in our housing strategy ultimately through the council plan, alongside relevant action plans. Specific work streams, such as the development of new homes, are subject to detailed programmes of resident engagement and reports to Cabinet, which will include equality assessments.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed policy/decision/business plan

People in the process of gender reassignment can face discrimination in local communities. Providing more, and better quality housing will benefit all communities in Luton, irrespective of their gender, which will be positive for this group.

The strategy can work towards linking with community organisations that seek to support people undergoing gender reassignment, and towards reducing prejudice and stigma in the community.

Equality information on which above analysis is based

We do not know at this stage how many people will be affected, as prevalence of gender dysphoria is uncertain. A hate crime report by Galop (2013) shows only 50 recorded transphobic crimes in London, however, many will go unreported.

Mitigating actions to be taken

The impact of the housing strategy on transgender people is likely to be low; the strategy encourages linked services, helping the affected group to access services.

Therefore, we do not expect mitigating action to be required at this stage of research. However, the needs of an ageing LGBT population will need to be considered.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed policy/decision/business plan

Providing more, and better quality housing will benefit all communities in Luton, irrespective of their relationship status.

Same-sex couples may be discriminated against in the private rented sector and in some local communities, the housing strategy will work towards supporting all residents regardless of their marital status to access support and services, which can help to reduce discrimination in the community.

Mitigating actions to be taken

None at this stage

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed strategy

The housing strategy seeks to support families, and this includes support during paternity and maternity also supports this group by giving children the best start in life. We therefore expect there to be a positive impact on this group.

Equality information on which above analysis is based

There is evidence that housing quality, including overcrowding, can have detrimental impact on maternal and child health during pregnancy and the new-born.

Mitigating actions to be taken

None at this stage.

Refers to the protected characteristic of race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed strategy

Policies to increase the supply of family sized homes and encourage downsizing by under-occupiers will benefit overcrowded households, amongst whom black and minority ethnic households (BME) are over-represented.

Luton has the one of highest number of overcrowded households in England and Wales (2011 census).

Equality information on which above analysis is based

There is evidence that overcrowding in the BME communities can have a negative impact to family health and wellbeing.

Mitigating actions to be taken

Key actions include:

  • provision of larger home of all tenures
  • effective responses to hate crime through housing and neighbourhood management
  • review of equalities statements for specific housing services

Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (eg Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed strategy

We expect the housing strategy to have a positive impact on religion and belief, as providing more and better quality housing will benefit all communities in Luton, irrespective of their religion or belief status.

Luton’s hate crime strategy seeks to address harassment and crime on religious or belief grounds and applies to all our tenures in Luton with emphasis on our council tenants.

Equality information on which above analysis is based

Luton has a very ethnically diverse population with variations in tenure.

A man or a woman.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed strategy

The housing strategy aims to increase the supply of housing across all tenures which will benefit both genders.

While women-headed households are likely to earn less over the duration of their lifetimes, the housing strategy includes measures for the provision of housing for those on a range of incomes.

Women as the main predominant main carers of children and vulnerable adults tend to be over represented statistically as homeless and therefore owed ‘reasonable preference’ under the terms of section 167 Housing Act 1996 and are protected by the homelessness legislation.

Homelessness single men are above the national average in Luton this will also be addressed through housing options and pathways.

Equality information on which above analysis is based

No specific data available

Mitigating actions to be taken

None at this stage.

Whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of strategy

Providing more and better quality housing will benefit all communities in Luton, irrespective of their sexual orientation. There may be additional issues around the needs of the ageing LGBT population, especially those living with HIV.

As the housing strategy is age-friendly, implementation will consider the needs of this population.

Equality information on which above analysis is based

For evidence on an ageing LGBT population and those living with HIV/AIDS, please see Luton Terrence Higgins Trust.

Mitigating actions to be taken

The national average for individuals affected by HIV stands at 4.7 per cent, the national average being 2.4 per cent, this needs further investigation as appropriate adapted housing needs to be developed to cater for the health needs for individuals in the future.

There are 16 rights in the Human Rights Act. Each one is called an article. They're all taken from the European Convention on Human Rights. The articles are:

  • the right to life
  • freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment
  • freedom from forced labour
  • right to liberty
  • fair trial
  • retrospective penalties
  • privacy
  • freedom of conscience
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of assembly
  • marriage and family
  • freedom from discrimination
  • first protocol

Possible impacts (positive and negative) of proposed strategy

We don't expect the housing strategy to have an impact on human rights.

Age

Luton has a relatively young population compared to London and nationally Luton is a young town with a high proportion of residents under 15.

However, population growth will also continue to increase demand for housing and support for older people.

The analysis of demographic and demand data undertaken suggests that there are a number of wards in the borough with particularly high housing and support needs, particularly in the north west, north and south-central wards of the borough:

  • Bramingham
  • Leagrave
  • Challney
  • Round Green
  • Crawley

These areas would be priorities for the development of housing and support services (Cordis Bright Research).

It's clear that a priority for older people’s priorities is to be supported in their own homes, and this continues to be where the majority older people live - 78 per cent of older people in Luton and 90 per cent nationally (Cordis Bright Research).

The number of older people with mobility difficulties is projected to increase, while the majority of older people with mobility issues would like to stay in their homes.

We also recognise that the number of multi-generational households are above the national average in Luton which stands at 4.2 per cent and the national average being 1.9 per cent (Cordis Bright 2018).

There is a current unmet need for wheelchair / adapted properties which will be addressed through Luton Housing Design Standards and the building of Life Time Homes and our Downsizing project.

Luton has a very ethnically diverse population.

Luton has seen several waves of immigration. In the early part of the 20th century, there was internal migration of Irish and Scottish people to the town. These were followed by Afro-Caribbean and Asian immigrants. More recently immigrants from other European Union countries have made Luton their home.

As a result of this Luton has a diverse ethnic mix, with a significant population of Asian descent, mainly Pakistani 29,353 (14.4 per cent) and Bangladeshi 13,606 (6.7 per cent).

  • White - 111,079 (54.6 per cent)
  • Mixed - 8,281 (4.1 per cent)
  • Asian or Asian British - 60,952 (30 per cent)
  • Black or black British - 19,909 (9.8 per cent)
  • Other ethnic group - 2,980 (1.5 per cent)

There's a wide variation in household size amongst different ethnic groups – with Asian households being larger than average.

There have been significant shifts in the ethnic composition of Luton since the last Census including:

  • general increases in the Asian population from 33,600 to 50,200
  • the black population increasing from 11,700 to 19,800
  • a decline in the white and ‘other’ population from 139,000 to 132,000

There's evidence of high turnover of population with estimates that between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of the population in 2016 would not have lived in Luton or not have been born at the time of the 2011 Census.

In addition we have new communities from eastern and southern Europe and also people from various African countries. These populations’ changes need to be taken into account. This reinforces the perception that Luton is now becoming more diverse both culturally and ethnically.

The needs of these particular groups have been addressed through a number of joint ambitions as illustrated in the housing strategy.


Download the Housing strategy 2019-22 (pdf/a)
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