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Housing association move for ALMOs?

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A string of arm’s-length management organisations (ALMOs) could convert to housing associations to shore up their financial future, according to the National Federation of ALMOs.

Oldham MBC’s ALMO, First Choice Homes, is set to transfer its 12,000 homes, if tenants vote in favour of the move and more are gearing up to follow suit.

National Federation of ALMOs head of policy Gwyneth Taylor said Warrington BC’sGolden Gates Housing and Stockton-on-Tees BC’sTristar Homes were among those also considering the transfer.

By making the transition, ALMOs would be able to escape the much-maligned Housing Revenue Account (HRA) subsidy system and their debts would no longer be on the public sector borrowing requirement, potentially allowing increased investment.

Ms Taylor said: “It is a relatively small number, but if the subsidy issue is not resolved, there will be more.”

The ALMO programme was set up in 2001 to help councils meet the Decent Homes programme improvement targets. Some ALMOs have moved on to different priorities with Derby Homes and Hounslow Homes the most advanced in terms of planning to build stock.

Derby Homes chair Dennis Rees said he was hopeful that the new Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) would resolve legal issues currently blocking its bid.

Speaking at the HCA’s launch, its chief executive Sir Robert Kerslake endorsed the ALMO model.

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