BLACKBURN-based Together Housing Group says housing organisations are integral in promoting social mobility in communities, but need local and national government support to make real changes.

A parliamentary inquiry led by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Social Mobility asked why social housing tenants were more likely to be in lower-paid and unstable employment than people living in other tenures.

In response, Together Housing said as well as the employment support it gives all tenants, the group provides several specialist employability support programmes through its charity Newground Together and Pendleton Together partnership.

One such project is More Positive Together, which delivers sessions bespoke to the needs of employers and those seeking support, often working with employers to job-match.

Chief executive of Together Housing Group Steve Close said: “We believe that housing associations need to be included as major players in the planning, support and delivery of social mobility models and services.

“Housing associations are key to employability because where you live affects your employment chances.

“As anchor institutions in areas identified as needing priority employability support, we have a crucial part to play in the post-Covid-19 response to re-balance the economy.

“Together Housing’s model means we don’t just work with our residents but work across the community.

“By levelling the playing field, social mobility barriers are removed.

“In order to achieve a real transformation, however, there needs to be a policy response from policy-makers at a national, regional and local governance level.”

The housing sector invests over £70m each year in employment support and services, making it the second biggest contributor to employment support in the UK after the Department for Work and Pensions.

Together Housing believes that central government should be supporting similar programmes nationwide and is calling on them to fund skill development that works for individuals and employers in terms of times, content and flexibility, and provides for those with support or caring needs.