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The 24-hour social media event designed to celebrate the positive impact of social housing, #HousingDay, is back! (On Tuesday, 8 October 2019 to be precise.)
Now in its seventh year, #HousingDay aims to raise the sector’s profile while ensuring tenants’ voices are heard (and it’s also fully supported by us here at HQN Towers).
This year’s theme is Community Investment and will seek to promote the work both social landlords and residents are doing to support UK communities.
#HousingDay lead Leslie Channon said: "#HousingDay has always been a celebration of social housing and the important role it can play in improving people's lives. Community investment is one of things that we do that can sometimes go unnoticed but in actual fact can have a hugely beneficial impact.
"This year the #HousingDay team is hoping to highlight this important area of work and remind people that it shouldn't be a 'nice thing to do' add-on but an integral part of the business.
"At the end of the day, it is much more cost effective to sustain a tenancy, keep people in their homes and build a community than it is to seek a repossession and evict a family."
Austerity measures, including the clunky rollout of Universal Credit, council cuts to frontline services and a lack of affordable housing, have made life hard for communities over the last few years.
Last year's #HousingDay coincided with the consultation period for the Social Housing Green Paper – and one year on, the government is still yet to act on its recommendations.
Community investment expert Barry Malki, who is helping to co-ordinate #HousingDay 2019, said: "Community Investment is absolutely at the heart of social housing, but it is amazing how many organisations still don’t see it as core business.
"Following the spending review in England in 2015, we saw huge cuts to community investment, which went some way to highlight how it was seen as ‘expendable’ in the light of adversity. The sector is definitely on the back-swing of these cuts, with a growing emphasis on community investment becoming apparent, and teams thinking a lot more strategically about what they deliver.
"There is some truly amazing work going, but my concern is still that it isn’t rooted deeply enough in the broader housing context.
"The vast majority of HAs specifically cite supporting communities in their mission statement, and it doesn’t get any more core business than that. But there is still quite some way to go before the message is consistently and universally accepted as part of the DNA of housing.
"Housing is a huge stakeholder in any community, and decisions will affect many lives for better or worse, so it is critical that we understand our role as a sector in this.
"I think we have a lot of work to do as a sector to bring community investment into the mainstream and ensure that it becomes routinely seen as a core service to be protected against financial difficulties. This year's #HousingDay can play a part in that."
Wanna get involved? It's easy - but first we need to spread the word!
Please get the date out there (8 October) and encourage friends, colleagues, residents and your wider communities to get involved.
The Twitter hashtag is #HousingDay. Follow @housingday for more information or contact Leslie Channon on Twitter: @lesliechanno