By Eileen Patterson MSc CIHCM, candidate for CIH vice presidency

Everything begins at home. Having a decent safe and affordable home is a basic human right which impacts on life chances, health, education and employment opportunities. And housing professionals providing good quality homes and support services are needed now more than ever!

We need to continue recruiting to the housing profession. And more importantly, we must equip and enable our housing professionals with the skills and support they need to meet the complex challenges they face. Membership organisations such as HQN and CIH have a vital role to play in achieving this. We need to be able to adapt our approach and delivery so that we meet the needs of each individual member. This is why I have put forward my nomination for VP of CIH and why I am asking you to consider voting for me.

I have been a housing professional for over 35 years and am committed to the delivery of high quality social housing and support services. I am professionally qualified holding a Post Graduate Diploma and an MSc in Housing. I have a vision for CIH based on my message ‘We’re on your side’. As VP I would be committed to delivering on this vision by being a champion for housing issues, by challenging the wider housing sector to achieve improvements and by being an inspirational ambassador for all the professional members of CIH. If elected I would champion:

  • A CIH which represents a professional, ethical, inclusive and caring housing sector. People who are homeless, have difficulty accessing services or living in poor conditions need us to be on their side;
  • A CIH with increased influence on government policy. We do have the ability to deliver high quality, well managed and affordable housing. Local, devolved and central government need us to be on their side.
  • A CIH which flexibly responds to the needs of our members who are dealing with increasing challenges and many customers with complex needs. You need us to be on your side.

I have had a long career as a housing professional and am recognised as an inspirational leader and an effective ambassador. The many highlights of my career include:

  • Progressing a professional career from front line operational roles, policy development, senior management and leadership through to Board of Management;
  • The development of a Regulatory Framework for HA’s;
  • Developing the first Strategy for the Private Rented Sector in N.I.;
  • Managing the business change process for a major Modernising Services Programme;
  • Developing a Floating Support service for independent older people;
  • Successfully managing a merger of two similar sized organisations to form the largest HA in N.I.;
  • Introducing an effective Tenant Engagement Framework;
  • Participating in Ministerial Reviews of the Supporting people programme and the assessment and allocation of social housing;
  • Leading a review of the impacts of LHA’s, Welfare Reforms and UC;
  • Lobbying for the introduction of welfare benefit mitigation packages for N.I.;
  • Chairing a group for the CIH ‘Rethinking Social Housing’;
  • Developing a new Apprenticeship Programme for Housing; and
  • Receiving a CIH Award for ‘Best Housing Professional’.

I have served as chair of CIH in NI and am currently the deputy chair of the Probation Board a Board member of CIH Ireland, Clanmil Housing Group and Circle Voluntary Housing Association.

I have experience of every aspect of housing policy, design and delivery and knowledge of housing related issues throughout the UK, the devolved nations and internationally through my roles in Ireland. I understand the many challenges we face in housing and I’m asking you to consider voting for me. As your vice president of CIH, I would be on your side.