Aileen is chief executive of Grand Union Housing Group, which is based in Milton Keynes. She has worked for the group in its previous forms since 1999. Her career in housing began in 1979 with Nottingham City Council as a neighbourhood services manager. She has held executive level positions in housing for the last 22 years and has been a member of CIH for 30 years.
“My parents – a coal miner and a hospital receptionist – scraped together a deposit to buy a house. It gave my siblings and I a stable family home, and an environment where we felt secure and could learn and grow, without worries about being served notice or asked to move, without insecurity about where we might move to or whether our education would be disrupted. This happy, secure start benefitted us enormously.
“Everyone deserves that. Without it, I wouldn’t be doing what I do now. Contrast that with families’ experiences today: shortage of good quality housing and insecurity of tenure (especially in the private rented sector where evictions are now the single largest reason for homelessness). And an affordability crisis which extends beyond the low-paid, locking many out of the housing market, leaving families vulnerable and damaging people’s life chances.
“What we do as housing organisations has never been more necessary. It matters. Hence what CIH does matters too. CIH’s role is to equip those working in housing with the skills to deal with our challenges: the housing crisis and welfare reform.
“CIH needs to be resilient, clear in purpose, promoting the art and science of housing.”