Four reasons housing organisations deserve to celebrate their success
As it is revealed this year's Housing Heroes Awards attracted more than double the submissions we had last year, CIH's communications manager Steve Hayes says housing organisations deserve to celebrate their success.
It's fair to say it's been a rather challenging time to be a housing professional.
There aren't many of us who haven't been affected in some way by a significant change in the way our organisations work.
So I was delighted when I found out this week that the number of people entering the Housing Heroes Awards, which CIH runs in partnership with Inside Housing to recognise the people who make the sector so great, doubled this year to nearly 350.
Here are four reasons I think housing organisations deserve to celebrate their success:
1. It's been damn hard work recently. Of course, it has been hard work for pretty much every business. But a combination of the economic slowdown, the rent reduction, welfare policies which hit the people we help most and a host of other challenges have hit our sector disproportionately hard. Housing organisations have had to make some very difficult decisions and in many cases their teams and individuals have had to go the extra mile to allow them to continue to do great work. Those people should rightly be recognised.
2. They don't do it enough. I've had the pleasure of seeing the work of housing organisations from the perspective of a PR agency, working in house and now from the point of view of the professional body, and I can safely say housing organisations do not shout about the incredible work they do enough. In many ways this is why the sector is so great - it's full of unsung heroes who just get on with their work because they believe in it. But our people are our sector's biggest asset, and recognising their contribution is so important.
3. They change lives. This is an extension of the above really. There is no doubt that housing organisations change lives - I've seen it with my own eyes. I've seen the schemes that have helped suicidal drug addicts turn their lives around, the older people who have regained their independence and had years added to their lives by wonderful supported housing schemes, the young families who thought having a decent home was impossible until a housing organisation stepped in. These are just a few examples of what housing professionals achieve on a daily basis. And it should absolutely be celebrated.
4. Housing is back on the agenda. Regardless of whether we think we've yet seen the policies that are going to solve our housing crisis, we've certainly seen a shift in approach from the government. Housing is firmly back on the agenda, and based on Gavin Barwell's event in Birmingham last week, which we co-hosted, we have a minister who is willing to fight our corner. That means it is more important than ever that we talk about and celebrate our work - in particular its huge value to society. And whether you're a chief executive or a housing officer, whether you work in repairs, care, lettings, communications or IT - you all play a part in transforming lives. If that isn't a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is.
The Housing Heroes Awards will now be shortlisted and the winners will be announced in June, at Housing 2017 in Manchester.
Meanwhile the deadline for our regional awards has been extended to March 13. You can find out more about how to enter here.