It’s been a unique and fun experience to edit an edition of Inside Housing as one of my Rising Stars competition prizes.
The shape of things to come
When asked what theme I wanted to choose I didn’t hesitate - how will we create our own bright housing future?
I wanted notable housing leaders to share their views on what the future holds for the sector and I’m pleased to see that they share an optimistic vision of the years to come, while not underestimating the challenges we face.
I also wanted to run a feature offering advice to those who wish to enhance their careers as I believe we work in a rewarding and diverse industry where people should move around, even when times are hard.
This edition was an opportunity to share how I fared with one of my other Rising Stars prizes - spending a day with housing minister Grant Shapps.
Shadowing Mr Shapps had more of an impact on me than I anticipated and the day really made me reflect on my own career and the role of our sector in society. I have great concerns that the state is pulling out of housing without any real plan for what will replace it.
After all, if there is a big gap between people’s wages and their housing costs which mean large numbers of people cannot afford to rent or buy in the private sector, then there is clearly continuing need for some form of state involvement. We fundamentally lack any clear national strategy for housing and it is individual people and families who suffer the consequences of this.
In a world of global economic uncertainty the demand for good quality, affordable housing is a pressing priority. Fortunately, individual housing organisations are generating new ideas and models of housing to fill this gap.
As I stated in my final speech of the Rising Stars competition at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in June, the social housing sector needs to shape its own sustainable future that mixes new and old ways of delivering and funding services.
I believe we can pioneer a new model of service delivery for the 21st century that is neither public nor private, but one that is certainly grounded in the communities we serve.