The US term for housing professionals - housers - is an apt word for a complex and challenging role, says Betsy Morris
What's in a name?
It seems to me that the term ‘houser’ reduces the complexity of what we do to its essence and helps keep us focused, our eyes on the prize. The prize we seek meets the basic human need for good quality housing that is affordable, located in a healthy community with access to a range of additional opportunities.
Each day we do a lot of noble stuff may be taken for granted, so long as the housing is produced. We consult communities and forge coalitions. We structure complex financing packages and juggle oodles of regulations. We are leaders for change and manage multimillion dollar businesses to the double bottom line. We maintain high standards of inclusivity and public accountability.
We are ‘housers’: creative, passionate, and masochistic - we get pummelled pretty regularly. In that context, humour also satisfies a human need; it is a tool to maintain balance and sanity, and to help keep us in the game. So, finally, I think ‘housers’ is a self-styled term that acknowledges the craziness and is proffered in the spirit of not taking ourselves too seriously,
Betsy Morris is chair of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials’ international committee