Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Meets With Community

Posted on: 19 Mar 24

Nehemiah Housing Association hosted a community meeting this week at its McCalla House retirement scheme in Wolverhampton, on behalf of West Midlands Faith in Action (WMFiA) and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

Organised to coincide with the start of celebrations for Nehemiah Housing’s 35th anniversary the meeting was set up to enable a dialogue between Mayor Andy Street, community leaders and young people to identify development priorities and funding opportunities through the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Deeper Devolution Deal. 

After a tour of McCalla House and one-to-one meetings with some of the tenants, questions put to Andy Street included: How can we build safer communities by working together? How do we maintain an inclusive West Midlands? How do young people easily access training and job opportunities? We need more social housing so will some of the money secured from government be given to build social rather than affordable housing?

Left to right Marjorie Cameron, Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Marjorie Jones

“We were honoured to be hosting this meeting on behalf of Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and West Midlands Faith in Action group and there was some great dialogue between the community and Andy Street,” says Llewellyn Graham, Nehemiah Housing Association Chief Executive.

“The reason for the meeting, as well as to celebrate the start of Nehemiah’s 35th anniversary, was to acknowledge the incredible devolution deal struck between the Government and the WMCA (West Midlands Combined Authority) in 2023 – and to make the most of the amazing opportunities the deal offers for local communities.

“To explain, the Deeper Devolution Deal is an agreement between the Government and the WMCA that is worth more than £1.5billion and is designed to level up the region.

“The WMCA will have responsibility to fund and deliver affordable housing and regeneration schemes from 2026 – hence our community meeting to support communication between Andy Street and community leaders, including those within the West Midlands Faith Action group, to decide on the best way to proceed following the deal.”

As part of the deal, the WMCA will have greater powers to control its housing, transport, employment, and regeneration schemes. The financial benefits include business rates retention for 10 years, £100million for regeneration and to build 4,000 new homes, and a funding commitment to grow the Metro network.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: “I’d like to congratulate Nehemiah on its 35th birthday as we look forward to the opportunities presented by the Deeper Devolution Deal we signed with Government last year.

“This marked a step change in the relationship between Whitehall and the West Midlands – empowering our region’s local leaders to allocate funds in the way they feel will best serve local people. 

“It also included a landmark housing deal worth up to £500 million, offering greater flexibility to build more homes on former industrial land that are energy efficient and genuinely affordable.

“We believe the region need better quality social housing and the devolution deal can offer an effective way of doing that, working closely with providers to build more homes capable of raising the quality of life for local people in a tangible and meaningful way.”

Llewellyn adds: “Being involved in this community meeting is hugely important to us as we value community development. The decisions and outcomes from the meeting will form part of Nehemiah’s wider stakeholder engagement that, in turn, will shape our way forward for our next corporate plan for 2025-30 and how we can play a positive, active role in helping the WMCA to achieve its goals going forward. We are ready to play an active role in the delivery of new social housing for those in greater need.”