In all our conversations with residents throughout the Resident Voice Index™ project so far, one of the key wishes that has been shared with us has been for those involved in social housing to improve how they communicate. Poor communication and poor customer service can leave residents feeling unheard and frustrated. We spoke to one of our Resident Ambassadors, Lucia about her vision for better communications in social housing.
Lucia’s housing provider is one of the largest in the country. It has a lot of resources and looking to the future, she believes that it would do well to funnel some of those resources into improving resident communication.
One of the things we spoke with her about was more direct contact between senior leadership and residents. She suggested, “If the board members, like the Chief Executive could come and explain things like the costings for the year: ‘This is what we’re spending money on because of this.’ At the moment, there isn’t that level of transparency.”
Expecting this isn’t a pipe dream. You just have to read about our other Resident Ambassadors, Val and Jim’s experience of resident inclusion, working with their board to hire staff.
The Community Support & Life After Lockdown survey
The Community Support & Life After Lockdown survey asked social housing residents to speak about how their relationship with their housing provider had changed since March 2020. There were a reasonable number of responses that spoke about poor communications and feelings that the pandemic was used by some providers as an ‘excuse’.
Words relating to better communications such as “contact”, “phone” and “support” were in the top ten answers.
Discussing some of her recent activities, Lucia explained that she was, “Pushed to action because the relationship wasn’t good enough to begin with and that’s why I’m speaking out more, because the initial conversations that I had weren’t getting anywhere and I think that’s really powerful. I decided to get involved when I saw that nobody was listening to me.”
After doing some research about her provider she found, “Their report and a meeting online with senior leaders talking about what they have done over the last year during the pandemic. That’s how I found out that they have this programme where you can get involved. I did it just because I didn’t feel heard.”
“I said that I would like to get involved in whatever’s happening in the community. Soon they (my provider) will have residents inspecting buildings – I love this idea and I want to be part of it. Whenever repairs are happening, inspectors will walk with me or another resident and look at the stuff that’s being done. I think it’s the best opinion that they can get, because I know best what’s happening in this building!”
“I think if my housing provider and the residents work a little bit closer together, lots of things can be sorted.”Lucia, Resident Ambassador
Lucia felt compelled to get involved with her housing provider to try and break through where communication was lacking. It has led her to sign up for more projects and get stuck in wherever she can.
Have you been inspired to get involved and improve the way your housing is run? We’d love to hear from you! You can get in touch and tell us your story here: firstname.lastname@example.org