The Isle of Man Government is moving forward with the next steps in the All-Island Strategy for Affordable Housing which was laid before Tynwald in March, fulfilling a commitment made by Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK.
A series of workshops designed to engage key stakeholders had to be cancelled due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
To prevent any further delay in starting this work, the Department of Infrastructure will now write to national and local politicians, along with other partners such as those in the third sector, seeking views on the key issues and the most effective way to take the strategy forward .
At the core of the strategy is a set of seven high-level policy principles, which will form the basis of discussion at both national and local level.
This is the first step in a series of early engagement strategies, which it is hoped will provoke discussion and input into the future shape of the many aspects of affordable housing on the Island. It will also complement the ongoing work which continues the policy of focussing affordable housing towards those most in need.
Minister Harmer said:
‘The existing housing review has delivered tangible benefits and provided firm foundations for the development of this strategy. I am, however, conscious that the housing landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and it is essential we are prepared, not only for the present, but also the future.
‘I want the Isle of Man Government to spend time engaging with the providers of the service, in particular the local authorities, so we can further develop and build on those positive relationships. It is also important to gather the views of colleagues in health and social care, the third sector, tenants and the wider public so that we get a range of perspectives. This will enable us, as an Island, to develop a more robust and future-facing plan for affordable housing.’
Julie Edge MHK, Member of the Department of Infrastructure with responsibility for housing, said:
‘I have been closely associated with some of the more recent initiatives across the affordable housing sector. These include the new allocation criteria and shared lists, which are seeing those in need housed much more quickly than in previous times, and the mid-rental pilot is also working well.
‘The publication of this strategy is an opportunity to take stock and refocus our priorities. I look forward to working with the Minister during what will be an exciting time for affordable housing delivery.’
In addition to the strategy, the Department of Infrastructure has also published Housing Review Closeout document and an Interim Housing Needs Study, which can be accessed from gov.im/housingreform