Gove strips housing association’s funding after Awaab Ishak’s death due to mould

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The government will strip new funding from the housing organization responsible for a property where a two-year-old boy died after prolonged exposure to mould.

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Awab Ishaq died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mold in a one-bedroom housing association flat in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, where he lived with his parents, Faisal Abdullah and Ayesha Amin.

The government said on Thursday that Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), which owns the flats, will not be given its expected £1 million of funding from the Affordable Homes Program (AHP) or receive any new AHP contracts for the new homes until the social regulator Housing has completed its investigation and RBH can prove it is a responsible landlord.


we will not hesitate to act

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement: “RBH has failed its tenants, so it will not receive a penny of extra taxpayers’ money for new housing, unless it works together and is supported by tenants.” does.

“This is a warning to other accommodation providers who are ignoring complaints and failing in their obligations to tenants. We will not hesitate to take action.

“Everyone deserves the right to live in a safe, decent home and this government will always act to protect tenants.”

The Government will continue to closely monitor RBH tenancy accommodation standards, working with the regulator and ombudsman to ensure that tenants have appropriate accommodation.

As part of a wider crackdown on poor standards, Mr Gove will block any housing provider that flouts the regulator’s consumer standards from new AHP funding until they make improvements.

His statement said he would also consider severing the existing providers of AHP funding until construction on the site begins.

On Saturday, Gareth Swarbrick was removed as chief executive officer of RBH.

Awab’s parents, originally from Sudan, had repeatedly complained about mold. He also believed that his treatment was shaped by not being from Britain.

In a statement on Tuesday, RBH said: “We made assumptions about lifestyle and we admit we were wrong.

“We will be implementing further training across the organisation.

“We abhor racism in any shape or form and we know we have a responsibility to all of our communities.”

The housing association published the update on Twitter a week later, after a coroner called Awab’s investigation a “pivotal moment” and said it would “significantly accelerate” inspections of homes for dampness and mold.

It said: “We want to start by saying again how sorry we are for the loss of Awab.

we know we’ve done things horribly wrong

“We know that our words will not take away the pain felt by his family, nor will they immediately mend the strength of hurt and emotion that is being rightly felt in Rochdale and across the country.

“Our entire organisation, which is made up of caring and passionate associates, is completely focused on getting things right for our customers, the people of Rochdale and the wider community and region.

“However, we know that we have done things badly wrong.”

RBH said its priorities included bringing in an experienced interim chief executive as soon as possible, meeting key stakeholders and sharing what it has learned about the health effects of dampness, condensation and mold with the social housing sector.

Mr Swarbrick, who earned £170,000 in the year of Awab’s death, initially refused to resign from his position at RBH.

He was dropped by the board at the end of the week, a day after Rochdale Borough Council asked the housing stock to be returned to the local authority.


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