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The new President of the Chartered Institute of Housing has set out her plans for the year in her first major conference address.
Speaking at the HQN annual conference, Jo Richardson set out her campaign to help deliver more housing-led solutions, as well as raise money for various charities aimed at helping young people.
The Professor of Housing and Social Inclusion at De Montford University also spoke about her views on housing more generally.
She started off by saying how she is one of the few that “chose housing” as a career and did not fall into it, as many others say, and how she has been passionate about it ever since.
In the 1990s, before gentrification of New York, Richardson went out to work with homeless people.
“It shook me to my core because I had always taken home for granted. It was only then when I realised how important home is,” she said of the experience.
She then worked at various housing roles before landing a position at the University.
Speaking about the importance of housing and housing professionals, Richardson said: “Home is more than bricks and mortar. Housing professionals are more than just expertise.”
This was in relation to the importance of the support and foundation that housing gives you, as well as the soft skills and personalities of housing professionals that makes the sector tick.
She said that it is important to have “long term affordable homes” but that “we know that there mustn't just be an increase in the number of new homes, we have to get the right homes in the right place.”
And this links to her Presidential campaign, which is looking at ending homelessness via housing-led solutions.
She said that she would like to see “the sector come together and embrace this project” and has named the project “homeful” a mix of home and hopeful.
As part of the fundraising during her year, Richardson is to walk the South West path and raise money for various youth charities, as the demographic has “been significantly impacted by Covid, whether at schools, university or being priced out of housing”.
See how you can get involved in her ‘homeful’ project here.