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The Housing Quality Network annual conference heard directly from residents on how they could be best engaged and communicated with.
Speaking on the second day of the conference, Fayann Simpson, a resident at L&Q, said there was a “need to challenge ourselves and allow residents to self organise and set the agenda for us”.
She added: “Our residents are diverse, we need to offer a diverse range of ways in which they can get involved.
“We need to help staff throughout our organisations, making sure they're informed, understand the current situation and are empathetic in their response. It is also about tone, how we speak to residents and the language we use.
“You also need to respect residents knowledge and skills. Many of our residents are extremely knowledgeable about building safety for example, we need to tap into that.”
Another speaker was Tanisha Rigby, Customer Involvement Officer, First Choice Homes Oldham. She has also been a tenant of FCHO since she was born.
And being a young person, she had a slightly different take on the engagement debate.
“Having myself in the role, I have got quite a few people my age involved. Just by having conversations around estates. Younger people seem happier engaging with a younger person.
“I am a tenant and a staff member. It can get messy at times but I think the benefits outweigh that. I understand the situation that residents are living in. I can say 'I am in the same boat as you, how can we help?’”
And finally in the session, delegates heard from Richard Mandunya of Soha Housing, who spoke passionately about respect and the need for housing providers to treat residents with that.
He said: “Respect is about deep admiration of somebody. Holding someone in high esteem. Paying attention to their feelings, expectations, and rights. That is how a housing provider should treat tenants.”