Tai Pawb calls for sector to adopt race equality pledges

Written by Ross Thomas

A leading Welsh housing charity is challenging housing providers to adopt a series of race equality pledges in order play its part in addressing systemic racism and inequality.

Launching its ‘Deeds Not Words’ pledge, Tai Pawb says that long-standing issues affecting Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people need addressing – and that the housing sector should play its part.

The recent focus on the Black Lives Matter movement – together with the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities – has highlighted systemic inequalities and injustice, with BAME communities across Wales and the rest of the UK demanding lasting changes to how we tackle racial inequality.

The pledge card focuses on four key strategic areas of work: mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on BAME staff and communities; improving the ethnic diversity of board and staff at all levels; communication and engagement; and developing an inclusive culture. Within each strand are practical action points that housing providers can work towards over the short, medium and long term, with a view to overall achievement within five years.

As part of the pledge card, Tai Pawb has itself committed to a number of outcomes, including conducting regular research into racial inequality in housing in order to benchmark and highlight key issues as well as monitoring progress. Tai Pawb will also be working with partners to launch initiatives aimed at increasing ethnic diversity in the sector through a new ‘Deeds Not (Just) Words’ steering group as well as amplifying its links and partnership work with BAME communities.

Director of Tai Pawb, Alicja Zalesinska, said:

“We are pleased to launch the pledge card today, taking account of our engagement with BAME people, equality organisations and housing professionals.

“The Black Lives Matter movement, coupled with the impact of COVID-19, is a watershed moment in deciding what type of society we want to live in. This is our opportunity to shape that society and ensure it reflects diverse communities the length and breadth of Wales”.

“We can’t do this alone – so over the coming months we will be further engaging with the sector, community organisations and housing and equality regulators to further strengthen the initiative”.

“Working towards the practical solutions as part of our pledge will bring about real, positive and sustainable change in the housing sector in Wales – and we are ready and looking forward to supporting members.”

Stuart Ropke, CEO of Community Housing Cymru, added:

“Housing associations in Wales can and must play their part in the wider movement across society to bring about positive and long-lasting changes for BAME people.

“The challenge that Tai Pawb and others have laid down is right and welcome. We look forward to working with Tai Pawb and our members across Wales to ensure that we deliver real change through concrete commitment and actions”.

Tai Pawb has long worked with partners across the housing and equality sectors to address race inequality and issues within housing, including publishing last year a feasibility study into the development of specific housing support for refugees and asylum seekers. More recently as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the organisation has hosted a digital practice session on implementing the All-Wales Covid Risk Assessment in housing settings, as well as highlighting the need for additional support for refugees facing homelessness when leaving Home Office accommodation.

To view the pledge card, visit our Deeds Not Words pledge to action page.