With exactly a week to go, the creator of #HousingDay Adrian Capon gives 11 reasons why we need it now more than ever
In 2014, it produced thousands of tweets and participants, while reaching millions of people. This year’s event is on 18 November.
1. Like never before housing is a political hot potato
Without a strategic vision for housing across all tenures, we will not solve the housing crisis. A new government ambition to support people into homeownership is welcome. But what about those for whom ownership will only ever be a pipe dream? #HousingDay provides a voice to all.
2. Where will the poor live?
This question keeps appearing in my Twitter feed and, as far as I know, there is no definitive answer. Unless this is satisfied, we should not give up on trying to solve the housing crisis. We need to listen to the needs of under-represented groups – those marginalised for no fault of their own. On #HousingDay we can at least try to do this.
3. Negative media coverage about social housing
There’s been so much negative TV and media coverage about social housing. It’s just not fair to tarnish people with the reputation of being scroungers who don’t look after their homes or respect their neighbourhood. #HousingDay provides some positivity to counter this balance.
4. Raising the profile – nobody knows what we do
Last year’s #HousingDayresearch carried out with Ipsos Mori painted a picture of a British public favourable towards social housing. By five to one they agreed rather that social housing plays an important role in tackling poverty but many remain oblivious to the types of people who live in our homes. Housing organisations’ wider work in local communities is critically important. This year, as part of the National Housing Federation’s Community Impact Week, we can showcase the valuable work we do in all parts of the country and reach out to a wider audience.
5. Finding stories
Like last year, we’re finding stories which can help celebrate, educate and remind the wider public why social housing really does matter. And in some small way chip away at what social housing is all about and tackle perceptions.
6. Putting tenants at the heart of #HousingDay
This year’s focus on #proudtenant is about residents sharing experiences of how their lives have been positively impacted upon. Tenants who have tirelessly volunteered to be more involved in services have already made a positive and potentially life-changing impact to thousands of people.
7. Tenants are people
We should not forget our tenants are people and #HousingDay is about making sure their voices can be heard. Tenants have talents that can be harnessed to help improve services and enhance the lives of other people. We need to have trust in the tenant approach. Tapping into more human authenticity without a corporate gloss is what this should be about.
8. Tenant voices in the spotlight
I don’t believe we give over enough attention to cover the impact of government policies on our tenants. I would urge all housing organisations to be more representative and ensure the views of their own tenants are heard. #HousingDay encourages tenants from a variety of backgrounds to shout about what they do and what they think about services and policies. #HousingDay supports TPAS who are looking for up to 50 people to find a strong voice.
9. Connecting tenants together
One of social media’s biggest strengths is its unparalleled ways to reach out, to engage in two-way conversations and connect people with each other. My ultimate aim is to create a springboard for further tenant networking and campaigning. The hashtag #HousingDayChat can create a regular conversation to build momentum, trust and consistency. In future, this will be organised by tenants themselves – a networked community.
10. Tenant power
This year tenant power echoes much about what we’re trying to achieve with #HousingDay. It’s also been echoed by blogger Bessy Banks’ #30daysofhousing campaign. On day 6, Bessy wrote:
“Finding our own voice and speaking to others in common is very powerful. There must be some way and necessity to collect and share these voices, to seek out and involve the involved residents in estates and neighbourhoods in cities, towns and villages the nation over. We have so much in common and the ability to share. There are many people doing great work in scrutiny who must have a voice too. I suppose the theme I am seeing is a movement of #tenantpower and a reclaiming of some of the confidence we seem to have lost.”
11. Get involved on 18 November with #HousingDayChat and beyond
I’m urging everyone to get involved on 18 November in whatever way they can. We’re looking out for tenants to participate in a second #HousingDayChat, 8-9pm. This is a great opportunity to tune into what tenants are saying and to ask questions. We can also celebrate some of the day’s highlights and discuss where we can go from here.
Adrian Capon, senior communications officer, Yorkshire Housing