Housing, learning and policy: A member’s view
Jill Haley is chief officer of the Byker Community Trust in Newcastle and has been a CIH member for 20 years and is the vice chair of our North East region. We caught up with Jill to find out what she thinks about the state of the industry, whether learning is important for housing professionals and what she would change about current policies.What’s the biggest housing challenge facing the North East region at the moment?
The lack of choice in affordable housing across all age groups, compounded by the government’s policy direction, which is moving towards a growing role for the private sector when at the same time the north east regional economy is moving in the opposite direction.
If you could change one thing about housing policy what would it be?
How it is set – I would allow housing professionals more influence to formulate it and not people who have little experience of the situation and real impact of policy change.
How important are housing qualifications to helping housing professionals progress their careers?
Very, mainly because they give individuals a well-structured and well-rounded information and knowledge base to build their experience upon.
Jill is a chartered member and says the benefits of this include accessing the best advice and information and being able to speak to peers whenever to get help and guidance if she needs it. You can gain chartered member status via a number of routes and distance learning is just one of them. Check out the courses available.
What aspects of housing practice are most the important to understand thoroughly?
This is an ever moving goal post but if I had to choose one I guess it would be policy – why because it has consequences on almost every part of our business and most importantly consequences on the people whom we serve!
What are your hopes for the future of housing?
That that affordable renting does not become the last tenure choice like it became in the 80s/90s. Therefore that as registered providers we are encouraged and supported by government to grow their business and to develop strategic partnerships with both public and private sector organisations:
• in order to seek innovative ways to build more affordable homes
• to find potential new income streams via business diversification
• to enhance our products and service provision
• to deliver a more cooperative approach to working with customers
Read more of Jill’s story inside September’s Conversations Inspired by Housing magazine. CIH members can download their copy from the website.
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