A radical initiative to empower communities living on estates managed by Hounslow Homes was formally launched at the Annual Conference of the Hounslow Federation of Tenants' and Residents' Associations (HFTRA) today (May 10th).
The scheme will make up to £1.5m of capital money from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) available to tenants' associations around the borough to spend on estate improvement projects of their choosing, which they will then take ownership of. The project is the first of what will be a series of bold initiatives to empower residents in the borough following the passing by Borough Council of an enabling motion which committed the new administration to a new way of thinking in the way in which we engage the communities we serve.
Delegates were asked to choose a name for the project, with the winner walking away with a £50 gift voucher. In the end we decided upon the Rainbow project, appropriate not only because of the colourful variety of estate-based schemes which will benefit from this allocation, but also because the award represents a pot of gold which awaits at the end of what has been something of a journey.
At least 200 people attended the Conference, and in spite of the rocky relationship which I "enjoyed" with Hounslow Homes and with some sections of HFTRA during my early tenure as Lead Member for Housing & Community Safety, and particularly while the Hounslow Homes Management Review was in progress, I have begun to pick up a real sense of warmth and of sincere affinity in my dealings with these organisations and the people who work so hard for them as they have come to understand just what it is that I am trying to achieve on behalf of our long-suffering tenants and leaseholders. Where there was once suspicion, if not in places downright hostility, a real united sense of direction and commonality of purpose has emerged in its place.
There are clearly still issues to be resolved before we can turn a very good service into a truly exceptional one, but just the fact that we know we are all striving for the same goal helps us to resolve difficulties as they arise. Exciting times.