We’re working with our members to build trust with tenants, partners, the public, policymakers and regulators – here are some of our key achievements in 2019.
We build trust and improve the understanding of our sector among politicians and civil servants, strengthening our sector’s reputation and shaping a political environment that delivers for our members and their residents. Over the past year, we met with then Housing and Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, with his successor, Robert Jenrick MP, and hosted a roundtable with then-Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, among others. We also met regularly with the Housing Minister and the Welfare Delivery Minister, Labour’s Shadow Housing team, backbench MPs and regional political figures. Alongside this, we had a number of meetings with the Director General for Housing, Communities and Local Government and numerous officials across the civil service.
Through our high-profile general election campaign, #FixTheHousingCrisis, we supported members to engage with more than 50 parliamentary candidates across the political spectrum, and we reached 2.4 million people on social media. We also co-hosted a housing hustings with partners including Shelter, Crisis and RIBA, welcoming spokespeople from the major English parties.
Through our Together with Tenants initiative, we’re working with you to build stronger relationships with residents. Our 132 early adopter organisations are testing out the Together with Tenants plan and charter, ahead of a full sector rollout. This work is being guided by our Member Steering Group and Tenant Advisory Panel, which we convened in 2019 to critique and shape Together with Tenants.
The approach has been widely endorsed by residents, politicians, housing associations and stakeholders. It was also positively referenced in the government’s Social Housing Green Paper, which raised many of the same issues we’ve been showing leadership as a sector to address. We used our
general election campaign to call on the new government to take the green paper forward, and it has now committed to delivering a Social Housing White Paper.
The Great Places Commission presented its recommendations in July, setting out practical ways housing associations can work in partnership to make sustainable, inclusive and vibrant places. The recommendations are based on more than a year’s worth of exploration and research, and we’ve been working with our members to take them forward. This is prompting new ways for housing associations to act as anchor institutions in their local communities, collaborating at local level with stakeholders, communities and residents.
In 2019 we established our first ever diversity, equality and inclusion member group. The group will work with the National Housing Federation to take forward our diversity agenda, including promoting a shift in culture and delivering more inclusive workplaces. Our second Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in Housing Conference was a great success, bringing together housing professionals for honest conversations on how we can create a more inclusive sector. And in 2019 we worked with BME National, a collective of BME housing associations in England, to develop a mission statement, highlighting how the government can work with the housing sector to improve housing for BME communities.
In 2019, we raised the profile of social housing and told the story of housing associations in the media.
We prioritised calling on the government to invest more in social housing, appearing on the BBC News at 10 and in other national media outlets.
Our research on child poverty in the private rented sector received widespread media coverage, and we made national headlines again in September and October with stories on the number of people directly affected by the housing crisis, and the cost of housing for people on benefits. We’ve also used high-profile media stories to highlight the most important issues facing our sector – such as pressing for urgent government action on building safety with pieces in The Times Red Box.