Successful Housing Seminar in Cambridge
During a one day international seminar at the University of Cambridge, key players from the English housing sector, added with some international experts, joined an interactive discussion about the future of non profit housing in the UK. EFL was represented by Chairman Ben Pluijmers (panellist) and managing director Joost Nieuwenhuijzen (workshop moderator).
After a recent Commissions report written in assignment of Clarions Housing Group and L&Q Housing Association, developed in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire in London, the key messages were shared and discussed with the participants. The commission, entitled The Future Shape of the Sector Commission, recommended major improvements in the not for profit housing sector. In short:
- It’s a crucial time for the social housing sector to tackle the housing crisis with political support (Green Paper) on all governmental levels.
- Housing Associations can better than other housing providers support in creating socially and affordable housing solutions.
- Housing Associations should remake the contract with customers, reviewing the landlord services from the beginning to the end.
- Housing Associations need to double the output to 80.000- 100.000 new homes per year
- Housing Associations should focus on areas and products which can make a big difference, whether to affordablility, special client groups or the economic prospects of communities.
- All of this implies a significant change to the governance model.
The Cambridge symposium entitled, The Role of the Not-for-profit Housing Sector in Addressing the Affordable Housing Challenge, was all about connecting industry practitioners with academic partners. Bridging the gap between these two distinct worlds is key, and Professor Nicky Morrison presented a platform in order to do so. In the morning, participants heard both practitioners and academics problematize the challenges facing the sector. In the afternoon, they were grouped in break-out sessions in order to address the problems discussed and develop solutions together. Key areas of interest and discussion included themes such as delivering in the market, structure and governance, place making and regeneration, social purpose and brand trust, and delivering high quality services through digital technology.