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Angry Southend residents ask: why sell off needed homes?
11:00am Sunday 21st October 2012 in News
FURIOUS residents languishing on a waiting list for a council home have questioned why a housing association has been allowed to sell off properties. More than 4,000 people are in limbo as they wait for one of 6,200 homes run by Southend Council to become available. Despite that, Genesis Housing Association, which manages homes across south Essex, has advertised properties in Southend for sale on the open market. Larry Kingston, 54, who has been on the council’s waiting list for more than a year, said: “I don’t think it’s right. “How can they get rid of homes when I’m still waiting for one? “We need more homes to become available, not less.” Assinda Jones, 34, added: “It seems a bit wrong to me. “How can that be fair?” Housing associations are one of the leading providers of low-cost, social housing in the UK. Genesis has homes in Basildon, Langdon Hills and north Essex, as well as Southend. Although independent, housing associations are regulated by the Government and must plough any profit back into the maintenance of their remaining properties. David Moon, Southend Council’s senior officer for housing supply, said Genesis was required to consult with the Homes and Communities Agency - a Government housing quango - before it could sell off any homes. He also pointed out the association was channelling more than £1million into the conversion of the historic St Mary’s Cottages almhouses, in West Street, Southend, into three four-bedroom houses. The plans also include demolishing neighbouring Shelford House and replacing it with 13 flats. Mr Moon said: “Before granting permission, the Homes and Communities Agency consults with the relevant local authority to ensure any proposed disposal of assets doesn’t have an adverse effect on the local housing market. “The council has given its consent to a number of disposals by Genesis, but has also blocked others in line with local housing needs.”