Riverside, the housing association that has such an important role in providing homes across the country, starting life in Swan Street, here in Liverpool Wavertree back in 1928.
Liverpool Improved Homes, as it was then called, had 15 houses. Today, 90 years on, Riverside touches the lives of over 90,000 people as a major provider of affordable housing, care and support services in England and Scotland across over 160 local authorities.
In 1928 those first 15 homes represented a deliberate and conscious attempt to give people a decent home at an affordable rent. They were tough times in Liverpool. Soldiers and sailors had returned from World Way I with a promise of ‘Homes fit for Heroes’, but instead they were still living in slum housing and facing the Great depression, the soup kitchen and the dole queue.
Britain then, as now, was desperate for affordable homes for working people, and an end to exploitative landlords and unsanitary properties.
I was pleased to host Riverside’s parliamentary celebrations of its first 90 years in Parliament. It is an innovative housing provider, aiming to transform not only the lives of its tenants, but whole neighbourhoods.
The challenges of the last 90 years continue today. We need every neighbourhood to provide safety and security, space and light, and homes for people to meet, play and grow. I know that Riverside will be at the forefront of these aims.