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Black and minority ethnic user participation in housing

Emphasis on user participation in the housing sector has risen, yet in spite of this; the involvement of African, Asian and African Caribbean tenants in councils and housing associations seems to be limited.  This is of particular concern given that these communities are more likely to experience poor housing conditions, overcrowding, homelessness and racism and to have specific housing needs arising from larger family sizes and cultural practices. This paper argues that providers should look at how appropriate support can encourage participation from black and minority ethnic tenants, rather than assuming they are ‘hard to reach’. To make involvement meaningful to tenants, they also need to be shown how their participation can influence the services provided, and monitoring and follow-up are essential.

Key messages:

  • Housing providers need to be clear about what they mean by resident or tenant involvement
  • There are good reasons for involving tenants beyond direct housing needs
  • Providers should start by looking at how to reach black and minority ethnic tenants and not assume they are ‘hard to reach’
  • Residents may need appropriate support in order to be involved
  • Guidance on user involvement is part of the process; monitoring and follow-up are essential
  • To make involvement meaningful to tenants, they need to be shown how their participation can influence the services provided.


  • What does tenant involvement mean?
  • Good reasons for tenant involvement
  • Black and minority ethnic tenants are not hard to reach
  • Appropriate support for involvement
  • Monitoring and evaluation are essential
  • Make involvement meaningful
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Author(s): Tracey Bignall
Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 5
Publisher: Race Equality Foundation
Publication date: November 2007