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I read with interest this week a couple of blogposts about social housing and where it sits within the public conscientiousness: http://jamesatbromford.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/keith-lemon-on-social-housing-whats-the-message/ and http://paulbromford.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/does-social-housing-need-to-find-a-richard-branson/
There are some great points made in both of those and no surprise they both originate from one of the UK’s most progressive landlords. Bromford in the English Midlands try hard to persuade staff to think outside the box to create great housing for their residents and spread the gospel of creating better customer service around the sector at large.
I am a great fan of BHG and have seen how they work first hand. However, they are just one housing group in a sector that does not appear to get its act totally together, in respect of explaining to the wider public ‘What we do” and “What we are for”. Most of the public have not been updated in what’s changed in the sector over the last 15 years.
There is still much ignorance for the wider public in terms of what the difference is between ‘Social Housing’, Private landlords and that old phrase “Council Housing”, which these days is pretty meaningless, as most housing actually left LA control decades ago. Try asking your non-housing mates when you are out socially and the general ignorance is clear. Most would be well into minus figures on Qi wouldn’t they!
In the current climate Jobs, Health and Housing should be the three main themes that affect the general public we see on the news and in general media. In the housing area we hear more of house prices and mortgage availability than the direct issues that affect social housing. That includes the success stories as well as the more obvious challenges like the bedroom tax and Universal Credit changes. Not enough success stories get out there on the mainstream news, Twitter and elsewhere.
The truth is that the responsibility lies with every RSL out there to always be finding opportunities to bang the drum for social housing and particularly where it is joined up with a number of peripheral charities and commercial organisations. Housing needs to be intrinsically plumbed in with health and jobs and the organisations involved with delivering those aims. The CIH should be more prominent in this area, consistently banging the drum even more intently for the sector. I would like to hear Grainia Long on the R4 Today program every single week and her face as familiar as Mark Prisk (who again is not that prominent either). Grainia would be one of my nominations for our (non-bearded) Richard Branson plus a cabal of other housing heavyweights.
Cuddling up to government is no bad thing if there is the opportunity for policy to be given a reality check before it is released. We need a few more Paul Tennant’s with vision to promote social housing in parliamentary circles and have it considered as part of wider social policies to help job seekers, improve health and our neighbourhoods over all. This job won’t do itself, come on housing brothers and sisters lefts take the message to the people and our leaders, whatever leaning they may be. If we don’t, social housing probably deserves to be regarded as an afterthought.
You can link with me on LinkedIn here - uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/ It would be great to connect !
Read on, to greening our housing
Electronic - Get The Message.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
PS If there are subjects you might like me to tackle on this blog, please get in touch and let me know!
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