The proposed merger between Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and Housing Plus Group is moving forward.
SARH and Housing Plus Group believe that joining together will be a great opportunity for us to deliver even better services for customers across Staffordshire and Shropshire. The majority of customers who shared their views with us earlier this year, agreed.
Our Boards met recently to review the case for a merger and taking into account what you told us, decided to take the next step in the process. This means that we are now beginning formal consultation, which is your final opportunity to share your views on the proposal. You can let us know what you think by completing the tear-off, Freepost reply slip. Other ways to do this are by emailing email@example.com, visiting sarhomes.wpengine.com/yvm or calling 0800111 4554.
Merger Information Sessions
We are holding a series of drop-in surgeries where you can raise any questions and share your views about the merger with our Chief Executive Karen Armitage and members of our Executive Team. Please feel free to attend any of these events:
Even better homes and neighbourhoods
Working together we will create thriving neighbourhoods, where people want to live.
We will provide value for money repairs and maintenance services for safe, well maintained and attractive homes.
We will offer a wider choice of homes, developing and improving towns and villages across Staffordshire and Shropshire. Together, we will start work on 2,000 NEW homes by 2023.
We will continue to support local employment, too, by choosing employees, sub-contractors and suppliers based here in the West Midlands.
Even better services
Working together we will make more of our services available online, freeing up staff resources to provide support where it’s needed.
You will be able to book, schedule and track repairs, as well as check your rent balance, make rent payments and apply for homes online at any time of the day or night. We will keep your data safe and help our customers get online through training and neighbourhood events.
Even better support
Working together we will be a trusted provider of community-based care and support for older and vulnerable people. Talented, committed staff and the latest assistive technology will help to reduce the length of hospital stays, support independent living and provide peace of mind and confidence for individuals and families.
We will be a landlord and service provider that customers recommend, with services rated good or excellent by regulators. And as a not-for-profit organisation, surpluses will be reinvested into even better homes and services in our communities.
Living our values: changing lives and building communities
As neighbouring housing associations we are united by more than geography. We put customers first and place fairness at the heart of our businesses. We are committed to bringing our shared values to life, changing lives and building communities.
Joining together offers a great opportunity to combine our local knowledge, financial strength and values to make even more of a difference.
A new, merged group would manage 18,000 homes and provide employment for around 800 people.
A larger group can be even more ambitious, with a bigger voice to represent you, access to extra funding and the scope to innovate – bringing greener technology and smarter ways for you to access our services.
A larger group could be there for customers every step of the way, helping you to:
- Sustain your tenancy
- Learn new skills
- Improve your finances
- Find employment
- Choose award-winning retirement living accommodation and at-home care for older people
What happens next?
We will carefully consider your formal consultation feedback and answer any questions you raise.
Your feedback will be taken into account by the SARH and Housing Plus Group Boards when they make the final decision about whether we will join together and create a bigger group providing excellent services to customers in Staffordshire and Shropshire.
We will let you know the decision of our Boards later in the summer.
Your questions answered
Many of you took the time to share your views and to ask questions about our proposed merger after we wrote to you in February. Here are the answers to some of the questions that we received.
Q Why do you want to merge?
A We want to grow so that we can make sure that we are as efficient as possible, delivering better value for money, having a louder voice on behalf of customers and doing even more for the people and communities most in need of our services.
Q Will the quality of your service reduce if you get bigger?
A We understand that bigger doesn’t always mean better. However we believe that in an era of welfare reform, when so many families are finding it difficult to manage and when there is such a pressing need for affordable housing, we must ensure that we can do more now and in the future. A merger won’t reduce the quality of our services; it will mean that we can offer more choice, for more customers.
Q What would happen to my tenancy following a merger?
A Your tenancy agreement or lease would remain the same, as would your rights and responsibilities in your home.
Q If the merger goes ahead, who will be my landlord?
A If a merger takes place your landlord won’t change. Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH), South Staffordshire Housing Association (SSHA) and Severnside Housing would continue to offer local landlord services as members of a larger group.
Q Would my rent or service charges change as a result of a merger?
A A merger will not affect the way that your rent or service charges are set. Social housing rents are fixed nationally, by the government. Your rent and service charges will continue to be advised in February each year.
Q Will my local office close?
A If the proposed merger goes ahead we will continue to deliver locally focused services from the heart of the community. As well as maintaining offices which you can visit, we are committed to making it easier and more convenient for you to request a repair, pay your rent and apply for a home online.