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Housing 2020: Our Key Takeaways

The Chartered Institute of Housing’s Housing Festival is usually one of our main events of the year that we’d attend in person and have a stand at. With the festival going fully virtual this year we saw it as a great opportunity for more colleagues to be able to attend talks from their homes.

While we attended an array of talks on various topics, there was a clear theme emerging, which is the shift in focus across the industry from property and buildings to people. We saw this throughout the talks we attended:

Our Housing 2020 Key Quotes
“The sector is clearly adopting a people-first, development-second approach…there is a real emphasis on supporting the vulnerable” - Helen Collins and Lucian Cook during the Savills and Social Housing Research Address.
One Housing's Chyrel Brown said during the Supporting tenants and communities through the COVID-19 recovery session, “the home is not just an element of a tenant’s wellbeing, it is all elements, including mental wellbeing and sense of self-worth”.
During Making Affordable Housing a Reality for All, Hester van Buren said “Housing is a human right and not a financial product”.

The shift was further highlighted in the Savills and Social Housing sector-wide research headlines:

  • When asked “How has Covid-19 changed your priorities in the next 12 months?” respondents said the following things were more important: Tenant support and quality of service (+60%), Addressing and supporting homeless and vulnerable households (+56%), Community engagement programmes (+44%).
  • When asked “Has Covid-19 changed the priority given to certain groups?” the results show that much greater emphasis and priority has been given to the sectors of society in the greatest need – 69% said the priority was the vulnerable and homeless, 42% said those in temporary hardship and 35% said key workers and low-paid households.

The talks at Housing 2020 served as a stark reminder that there was a social housing crisis before Covid-19 but that the pandemic has accelerated the issues. We know this from working with yourselves and our other housing clients and we’re proud that the focus on the residents impacted has always been the priority for our customers long before Covid-19.

As you know, supporting people who need it most is at the heart of everything we do, so we were encouraged to hear about the many housing organisations doing great things across the sector, something that was also celebrated at the Housing Heroes Awards. Congratulations to our customers St Leger Homes of Doncaster and PA Housing who both won awards:

Congratulations!
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team of the Year - Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Advisory Group at PA Housing. 
Frontline Team of the Year (over 5,000 homes) - The Emergency Flood Response Team at St Leger Homes of Doncaster.

Overall we found it an informative event despite the big change in format. What were your key takeaways from the festival?

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