As part of the Resident Voice Index™ project we spoke to social housing residents up and down the UK about what matters to them. We used this feedback to build the Neighbourhoods & Communities survey. This survey was the first step of a long-running project, which aims to get to know what social housing residents in the UK think about their homes, landlords, neighbourhoods and communities.
Spring was busy! We held four workshops with residents in April of this year and found out about the greatest concerns affecting residents at the moment. We’re now sharing with you the main themes that came up during these sessions.
Getting more opinions
The first groups that we spoke to were made up of residents who are actively part of scrutiny panels and resident boards.
Many of them worried that often the voices that are heard amongst social housing residents are the same ones that are always heard by housing providers and policy makers.
They thought that the reasons for this might be down to a misconception that resident engagement is too time consuming or concerns that the efforts made might not have any Impact.
When we asked what are and what are not acceptable survey topics, residents told us that they would be happy to be asked about anything going on in their lives. However, they believed that the bodies that collect the data – whether they be governmental, their housing provider or a third-party – should be communicating with them beforehand about why they are asking the questions and what impact the results might have.
When the results are in, residents should be told what they reveal and the actions that their contributions have influenced.
Many residents spoke out against the use of jargon in communications with their housing provider or third-party organisations.
Providing community space
Whether it be space for community groups or football pitches with late night lighting, the residents we spoke to believed that if there were more communal and community spaces in their neighbourhoods, that the sense of community would improve and there would be more mixing of different types of people living in an area.
Safety and neighbourhoods
More than most topics, this came through as a key concern from residents. We heard that residents would particularly like to see more done to prevent antisocial behaviour where they live.
For some people, visible policing like old fashioned ‘bobbies on the beat’ were suggested as a way that neighbourhoods could improve.
What do you think?
Are these topics reflective of your experience of living in social housing? Do you think something is missing from the list? What do you imagine housing providers could change in order to help build stronger communities around the homes that they manage?
We’d love to hear from you! Give us your thoughts on these questions at info.ResidentVoice@mrisoftware.com.