Event details

Join this thought-provoking conference which will delve into the funding and projects shaping the UK housing market and homelessness prevention.

Learn about the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26 (AHP), prioritising funding for social rent and supported housing, and emphasising modern methods of construction (MMC). With England requiring 340,000 new homes by 2031, including 145,000 affordable units, the urgency is clear. Secure provisions for 90,000 homes for social rent and 25,000 for shared ownership.

Recognising the pressing homelessness crisis as a national emergency, councils are stepping up, acting as builders, support networks, and advocates for those without shelter. In February 2024, councils received nearly £220 million to deliver over 800 homes for rough sleepers and prevent homelessness. Total government investment stands at £2.4 billion over three years (2022-25) to tackle homelessness and end rough sleeping.

Register now to explore how councils, amidst mounting pressures to achieve NetZero targets, are uniquely positioned to lead local responses to homelessness. Gain insights from keynote speakers and engaging panels on funding initiatives, challenges confronting the public sector, and strategies to overcome them.


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  • 08:55 AM - 09:25 AM

    Levelling Up the housing market - devolution

    The Government's focus on levelling up involves improving the standard of living in the neglected areas of the country. Various initiatives have been introduced since 2019 to achieve this goal, including the Levelling Up Fund (LUF), Getting Building Fund, Brownfield Housing Fund (BHF), Community Ownership Fund (COF), Towns Fund, and Long-Term Plan for Towns. The First Homes scheme offers discounts on new-build homes for local first-time buyers and key workers, with a commitment to add more properties annually. The Community Ownership Fund aims to prevent community assets from being lost and supports community groups across the UK. These interventions aim to create opportunities and empower communities to enhance their local areas.

    Join this panel discussion to gain insights into present initiatives and the continuous progress towards levelling up communities.

    Danielle Gillespie
    Danielle Gillespie Director of Regeneration Homes England

    Danielle Gillespie currently holds the roles of Director of Regeneration at Homes England, Board Member of Stockport MDC. Director at Bristol TQ and English Cities Fund. Since joining HCA in January 2010, Danielle has undertaken a variety of roles including Head of Strategy, Programmes and Performance; Head of Area for Cheshire & Warrington. An economist by profession, with an MBA in Urban Regeneration, she has more than 15 years’ experience working in the sector. She started her career with one of the largest housing associations in the country, before moving into consultancy where she led the housing and economics team. This included a lead role on key commissions such as devising the North West Regional Housing Strategy. Danielle is the lead contact with partners across the North West, working to increase housing supply and unlock opportunities for growth.

    Councillor Tom Renhard
    Councillor Tom Renhard Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery & Homelessness Bristol City Council

    Tom Renhard is a Labour and Co-operative councillor and the cabinet member with responsibility for housing delivery and homes in Bristol City Council. Tom’s background is as a housing campaigner and has been a member of ACORN since 2014, campaigning for better housing conditions for tenants. This has included being involved in high profile campaigns to bring in the eviction ban at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside an award-winning campaign that as part of the End Unfair Evictions Coalition secured a government commitment to bring an end to s21 no-fault evictions in the private rented sector. Tom is also a mental health campaigner, having setup the charity Independent Mental Health Network, which empowers people with lived experience of mental health problems to influence mental health support across the Bristol and Greater Manchester areas.

    Jonathan Schifferes
    Jonathan Schifferes Head of Housing and Garden Communities Essex County Council

    Jonathan Schifferes current role is Head of housing and Garden Communities for Essex County Council, his focus is to coordinate Essex County Council's role in securing better housing outcomes for current residents and future generations, bringing in experiences from his previous roles at Greater London Authority at both a housing Policy Manager and Area Manager.

  • 09:35 AM - 10:05 AM

    Tackling Housing in disrepair

    Following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak, Awaab’s Law, part of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, targets damp and mould issues in social housing. It mandates prompt investigation and remediation by landlords upon receiving reports. Key provisions include investigating hazards within 14 days, providing residents with investigation findings within 48 hours, and beginning repairs within 7 days for significant health or safety risks. Emergency repairs posing imminent danger must be addressed within 24 hours. Further recent developments include the opening of a £15m fund to improve Greater Manchester social homes. As of April 2024, councils will enforce routine inspections of landlords for accountability, non-compliance can result in various sanctions, marking a significant change in social housing regulation, following the landmark Social Housing (Regulation) Act.

    This panel aims to discuss strategies for addressing homes in disrepair, outlining measures necessary to prevent future problems or hazards for tenants, while also considering landlords' responsibilities and expectations.

    Jonathan Walters
    Jonathan Walters Deputy Chief Executive Regulator of Social Housing

    Jonathan Currently holds the position as Deputy Chief Executive at Regulator of Social Housing. RSH promotes a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver and maintain homes of appropriate quality that meet a range of needs. Having previously been at Ernst and Young working in social housing consultancy, Jonathan has been at the Regulator since 2004. He has worked across the organisation and has extensive experience in dealing with funders, government and Registered Providers

    Councillor Steve Evens
    Councillor Steve Evens Cabinet Member for City Housing & Deputy Leader City of Wolverhampton Council

    Steve is the Deputy Leader of the Wolverhampton Labour Group / City of Wolverhampton Council. He is also Cabinet Member for City Housing. Steve has been a Fallings Park councillor since 2006 and has dealt with thousands of queries on behalf of residents and ran many campaigns (e.g. overdevelopment, road safety, flytipping etc). Since being elected in 2006 he has worked to bring about many improvements to the local area and campaigned hard to defend the services the residents deserve.

  • 10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

    Keynote - Alyson Heald, Partnerships Director NW, L & Q Housing Trust

    Alyson Heald
    Alyson Heald Partnerships Director NW L & Q Housing Trust

    Alyson is the Partnerships Director for L&Q Housing Association and has worked in the Social Housing sector for over 19 years. As the voice of L&Q in the North West, Alyson’s focus is on working in partnership to understand the needs residents, community organisations, local and regional government and other stakeholders to help shape strategic plans and deliver on L&Q’s ambition for the North West, centred on levelling up investment and delivering quality new homes across the region. Passionate about the sector, tackling stigma, placemaking and the added value Housing Associations bring, Alyson brings a wealth of experience leading a wide cross section of teams, including Policy and Research, Information Communication Technology, Business Intelligence, Transformation and Diversity and Inclusion.

  • 10:40 AM - 11:10 AM

    Homelessness - Prevention and Cure

    The government has committed £2.4 billion over three years (2022-2025) to address homelessness and eradicate rough sleeping. As part of this, £3,177,308.18 in grant funding will be given to 50 local authorities in 2024-25 to support the government's rough sleeping strategy. Over 160 businesses have expressed interest in assisting the government's efforts to prevent and end homelessness, particularly in workplaces. Despite these efforts, there has been a 12.1% increase in the number of households living in temporary accommodation. To counter this, the government has allocated an additional £500 million to extend the Household Support Fund, aimed at preventing families from becoming homeless.

    Join this panel to discover the government's strategies aimed at preventing homelessness and how existing funding has been allocated to assist local governments in supporting individuals experiencing homelessness and households at risk of becoming homeless.


    Modester Anucha
    Modester Anucha Director of Housing London Borough of Hounslow

    Modester Anucha is a successful senior manager with over 20 years leadership experience in public, private and voluntary sectors. She has a proven track record in performance improvement, business transformation, digital channel shifting, housing management, preventing and reducing homelessness, housing options. She currently holds the position of Director of Housing at London Borough of Hounslow, bringing experience from previous roles at London Borough of Waltham Forest.

    David Ashmore
    David Ashmore Director Housing Services Manchester City Council

    David Ashmore is a passionate, experienced and successful leader in public services. Specialising in delivering large scale and long lasting positive change for communities and organisations across a wide range of front line and corporate services including housing, digital, finance, transformation, HR and many more. His current position as Director of Housing Services at Manchester City council, follows his previous roles at Coventry City Council, Lambeth Council and Harrow Council. David works in partnership with residents, colleagues, public and private sectors and always with honesty and integrity.

    Kojo Sarpong
    Kojo Sarpong Director of Housing Needs Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

    Kojo Sarpong is the Director of Housing Needs for RBKC and covers management of the Council’s homelessness prevention, temporary accommodation & resettlement, housing allocations, housing strategy and Grenfell rehousing services, , housing employment and support and no recourse to public funds which are all customer facing. He has vast experience of working in homelessness assessment and prevention and has been central to several key policy and legislative changes relating to homelessness over the past decade. Kojo also led on the trailblazer pilot for the Homelessness Reduction Act, prior to its implementation. His experience includes customer service delivery, change programmes, support, service delivery for vulnerable residents and community engagement.

  • 11:45 AM - 12:15 PM

    Social Housing Decarbonisation - Greening the Estate

    The government has allocated £6 billion for energy efficiency measures, with £1.25 billion specifically for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and additional funding for heat networks. The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund aims to retrofit or insulate 140,000 social homes, reducing energy bills. The Green Heat Network Fund will help 60,000 homes access low carbon heating. Additionally, £45 million has been allocated to improve existing heat networks. The government's heat pump grant saw a 75% increase in applications in February 2024 compared to February 2023, offering grants of £7,500 for installation. Nearly £5 billion has been provided to support households with energy bills, including Winter Fuel Payments, Pensioner Cost of Living Payments, Warm Home Discounts, and Cold Weather Payments, by increasing housing energy efficiency we can save on these annual payments to support households so it’s positive outcome for all.

    Join this panel to understand the current strategies aimed at placing decarbonisation at the forefront of housing initiatives.

    Councillor Graham Morgan
    Councillor Graham Morgan Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Planning Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

    Councillor Graham Morgan was re-elected as Leader of Knowsley Council for a sixth consecutive year at the Council’s Annual Meeting on Friday 19 May 2023, Councillor Graham Morgan also has the role of Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Planning for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.  Liverpool City Region Combined Authority along with Housing Associations are working to retrofit energy saving measures to as many houses as possible, to save people money, tackle fuel poverty and to help their journey to becoming net zero by 2040. Under Graham Morgans Leadership in Knowsley Council the house building program has built more then 4,000 new homes and aims to build more. 

    Mel Barrett
    Mel Barrett Chief Executive Nottingham City Council

    Mel took up the position of Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council at the beginning of September 2020. In this role he is principal policy advisor to elected councillors and responsible for the general management of the organisation. Through its political leadership, provision of direct services and collaborative working with partners the council seeks to improve the quality of life of its 330,000 residents. Mel was previously Chief Executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Executive Director of Housing and Regeneration at the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and Oxford City Council’s Executive Director for City Regeneration. As a Director of the London Development Agency Mel established and was founding Chairman of SME Wholesale Finance (London) Ltd., now trading as Funding London, which works with investors, banks and the higher education sector to provide venture capital and loan finance to growing businesses, recycling the returns made into other London businesses, a scheme which was highly commended by the EU. Mel was born in Coventry to Windrush generation parents. He holds a BSc(Hons) in Land Management from DeMontfort University, Leicester, an MBA from City University, London and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Mel is married with two sons now at university.

    Cllr. Sof McVeigh
    Cllr. Sof McVeigh Portfolio Holder Housing Management, Housing Safety, and Building New Homes

    Sof became a councillor in 2018 and is currently Chair of the Licensing Committee and serving as Deputy Mayor. Sof has worked in Corporate design in Hong Kong and London, and values the importance of good design. She has been on the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee and the work there is close to her heart and she's a governor of a nearby school. Since being elected Sof has worked to get Acoustic cameras installed in the ward to help combat nuisance drivers. 

  • 12:50 PM - 13:20 PM

    Planning and Building

    A recent review by the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities highlights Homes England's role in supporting 186,400 new homes in 5 years. The government plans to fulfil its manifesto pledge to build 1 million homes by offering up to £180 million in BLRF2 (Brownfield Land Release Fund) to English councils over three years. Planning reforms in 2024 aim to simplify processes for builders, including replacing the four-year rule with a ten-year rule and penalising slow developers. Local councils gain more power to build affordable housing through measures like Compulsory Purchase Orders, reducing inflated land costs. These reforms target housing challenges and streamline development.

    The panel will discuss home building plans, funding's role in construction and planning and addressing challenges faced by the public sector when planning and building homes.

    Darren Rodwell
    Darren Rodwell Executive Member for Housing and Planning London Councils Executive/Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council

    Darren became the Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council in 2014. Since then, he has established the borough as one of the most important growth opportunities in London and the Council has won numerous awards, including LGC Council of the Year for 2018 and the LGIU Leader of the Year Award. Since 2016, Darren has served on the London Councils Executive first as the Executive Member for City Development and now as the Executive Member for Housing and Planning. In his current role he has prioritised the delivery of truly affordable housing in the capital, fire safety, reducing homelessness and reducing the use of temporary accommodation. Under his leadership, the borough has undergone a programme of sustainable regeneration and has built over 2,000 council-built homes (the most in London), with the aim to build 50k homes starting at London living wage.

    Robin Dobson
    Robin Dobson Group Property Director Network Rail

    Robin is the Group Property Director at Network Rail. Network Rail Property is the commercial division of the organisation accountable for the management of all of Network Rail’s land and property assets. Network Rail Property generates over £200m each year, which is reinvested back into the railway to create a better railway for Britain. Across our six business units, we specialise in commercial lettings in our stations and arch portfolio, property and land development, property services, planning and mapping supporting the rail industry and workplace management responsible for the corporate office accommodation. Robin joins Network Rail from Hammerson Plc – the property development and investment company – and brings extensive experience in all property asset classes across UK and Europe. Robins focus in his role as Group Property Director is infrastructure growth and delivering developments across Great Britain with both the private sector and public partnerships, particularly in support of the Government’s levelling-up agenda around housing and investment

    Sarah Scannell
    Sarah Scannell Assistant Director Planning Birmingham City Council

    Sarah has nearly 20 years’ experience in planning across London Boroughs and the GLA and now leads the planning function at Birmingham City Council, one of the largest Local Planning Authorities in the country.

    Sarah has expert skills across all planning disciplines and has significant experience in driving sustainable growth and delivering positive outcomes. She has a desire to create great places to live, visit and work, and is a passionate advocate of the planning sector


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