BME London Landlords, the collective of 14 BME-led housing associations in London, has named Ben Laryea, chief executive of Ekaya Housing Association, as its new chair.
Mr Laryea takes over the role from Gina Amoh, chief executive of Inquilab Housing Association, who announced last week that she would step down.
In the role, Ms Amoh oversaw the evolution of the Build London Partnership with L&Q and the Greater London Authority, which enables members of BME London Landlords and other small associations in the capital to acquire new affordable housing properties at cost value from L&Q.
She also drove the promotion of the Leadership 2025 initiative, a nine-month development programme available exclusively to senior leaders from BME backgrounds working in the housing sector.
Mr Laryea took up his current role at Ekaya Housing Association in February 2018. Prior to this he was deputy chief executive of Westway Housing Association.
He began his career in housing three decades ago as a positive action trainee at the London Borough of Greenwich, learning about housing and estate management. He has held a variety of leadership roles within the sector, including three years as an independent housing professional, supporting organisations through change, performance improvement and service transformation.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Laryea said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be taking over this role from Gina and am grateful for the opportunity to build on the great job she has done as chair over the past three years leading BME London Landlords and Leadership 2025.
“As an alumnus who has benefited immensely from Leadership 2025, I am very mindful and thankful for BME London Landlords setting up this programme and will work with my colleagues to continue we ensure the sector improves its performance in addressing the lack of diversity at senior executive and board level.”
BME London Landlords has an important role to play in highlighting the work the sector can do to address the complex challenges faced by London’s BME communities, Mr Laryea said.
He added that a clear priority will be working with sector partners to provide practical housing solutions to address the issues that have been brought into focus by the Black Lives Matter movement and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BME communities.
“Social housing has a responsibility to empower tenants, and wherever possible we must give voice to the voiceless. The NHF’s updated code of governance has created the opportunity for the sector to raise its ambition and lead on equality, diversity and inclusion.
“The voice of BAME communities have been marginalised for too long; this is unacceptable. BME London Landlords are committed to using our learning as a collaboration to enable the dynamism that is in the social housing sector to show leadership to right this wrong.”