Shadow Housing Minister visits Midland Heart
Shadow Housing Minister Melanie Onn MP had opportunity to talk to Midland Heart customers about their past experience of homelessness during a visit to the leading Midlands housing association.
The MP, who has herself been homeless, was given a snapshot of Midland Heart’s work to provide supported accommodation and brand new affordable housing in Birmingham and also discuss the association’s response to the Government’s Green Paper.
She was in Birmingham recently at Midland Heart’s invitation and was taken on a whistlestop tour of The Snowhill, supported accommodation in the city centre for men and women over 21 and a £8.2m affordable housing development at Shard End by Chief Executive Officer Glenn Harris and Joe Reeves, Executive Director of Growth & Corporate Affairs.
Joe said: “We are delighted Melanie took up our invitation to visit Midland Heart and that we had opportunity to talk about our response to the Government’s Green Paper and to give her a snapshot of the important work we are doing, not just in Birmingham but across the Midlands region.
“Melanie immediately engaged with staff at The Snowhill and was very empathetic and caring about the situations of the residents and service users she met. She was impressed with the range of activities undertaken and she liked that The Snowhill was right in the heart of Birmingham, not seen as a problem to be hidden away.
“At our Sheldon Hall Avenue development in East Birmingham, she commented on the size and space of the standard units, the quality of the build and that these homes were at affordable rent.
“She then had an impromptu chat with a new tenant who had previously been homeless with her family. Homelessness is an issue close to Melanie’s heart and she has spoken publicly about her own experience.”
Tenant Kerry* moved into her four bedroom property with her five children and said the MP had been “really lovely and interested in my experience of becoming homeless almost three years ago after the landlord wanted the house for a relative. After that we were here, there and everywhere including living in one room of my parents flat.
“My new home is beautiful; it’s like a mansion after being squashed into one room. I’ve always lived in this area so getting a house here was perfect as the children didn’t have to move schools or make new friends.”
*tenant’s name has been changed