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Genesis Housing – Half century celebrations

Genesis Housing Association this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and since its inception the London-based social housing organisation has established itself as an industry leader that now owns 33,000 properties across London and the south-east. The organisation currently has a new build and re-investment programme in place, which it plans to implement over the next decade.

“We have got a new investment strategy,” says Paul Jameson, Procurement Manager. “We aim to build 1,000 homes a year, 10,000 by 2025. We are also looking at other expansions mainly for our regeneration side. As well as this we are doing straightforward new-build and looking at re-generation with other housing associations and local authorities.”

With revenue of approximately £276m and with over 1,500 employees supporting its operations, Genesis manages homes across a range of tenures which include social and private rent, shared ownership and leasehold and care and support. The company works closely with the Greater London Authority (GLA) to better carry out its work and maintaining this partnership allows it to keep up to date with developments across the region.

The company is currently involved with some major projects that will see the refurbishment of a number of properties across London. “We have major regeneration programmes in Grahame Park in Barnet and Woodberry Down in Hackney,” adds Mr Jameson. “These are both very long-term partnerships and will provide many more homes at the locations. We have a site in Alder Common which we are looking at and it is going to be one of the biggest developments for us, the biggest transpolar infrastructure project.”

Genesis also has a regeneration project under development in Central Chelmsford for a commercial centre that will include office, retail and community units and has also completed work at Zenith House in Barnet and Stratford Halo.

Sustainability is an important aspect in the properties that Genesis builds and Stratford Halo is an example of the energy efficient designs that the company incorporate into its houses. “We have got a new design code that came in this year and it’s about sustainability and maintaining quality. We want everything to be good quality but of course the balance is about affordability as well. It’s about running the homes and contributing to government targets and in day to day terms, it’s about how people are going to live and look after those homes and be able to afford to stay in them.”

Even with the success the association has achieved, it continually faces challenges from the market and has done well to maintain its product quality and image whilst consistently increasing its workload over the years. “It’s all about demand,” explains Mr Jameson. “It’s about value for money as it is an incredibly competitive environment. Obviously, we would like to do a lot more but we are competing with the private sector as well as other registered providers. We don’t have a grant anymore, so we have a greater reliance from private sales and we have to be much more targeted with our investments. Rent is how we pay back our loans; we want people to live well in their houses, so it’s much more self-contained now. We don’t have direct payments so we have to be clever about our investments and more self-aware about what is happening in the market.”

“We have major regeneration programmes in Grahame Park in Barnet and Woodberry Down in Hackney. These are both very long-term partnerships and will provide many more homes at the locations. We have a site in Alder Common which we are looking at and it is going to be one of the biggest developments for us, the biggest transpolar infrastructure project.”

Paul Jameson, Procurement Manager

Genesis HA - chelmsford

Looking to the future, Mr Jameson concludes: “The main objective for the next year is to deliver what we’ve promised: the major projects like Woodberry Down and Grahame Park. We also want to be looking at new opportunities. We have a big development outside of London in Chelmsford and we want to look at opportunities coming up in Old Oak and in Barking and Dagenham. We are interested in the large-scale opportunities that are coming out from the GLA and the council. We are working very closely with the local council because they have great ambition and unlimited resources. So in the next 12 months it’s about delivering what we know we can and it takes a while to work on those new deliveries that will start coming out of the ground in about 24 months, so it’s about looking at those new partnerships as well.”