Comment: Making places, together

In 2018, I was one of the judges for the Northern Housing Award for the Best Resident Involvement Initiative. It was one of the easiest jobs I’d had all year.

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St Leger Homes (Doncaster) was the stand out winner, not only to me, but to my fellow judges as well.

The association not only demonstrated a multi-faceted approach towards tenant engagement, but were also celebrating that approach through their Tenants Choice Awards.

St Leger’s success that night – they also won two other awards – is indicative of the place-based role ALMOs play.

This was demonstrated through their multi-agency approach to tackling homelessness, bringing together all the services needed in Doncaster to really make a difference.

What makes them stand out is that they are place-makers, anchored in the lives of people and their communities.

The place-based nature of ALMOs puts them in prime position to act as local partners of choice.

This is certainly true with the emerging Integrated Care Systems agenda, embodied in the recent launch of the NHS 10-year plan.

ALMOs like Nottingham City Homes are already leading the way in demonstrating the role housing can play in health.

We’re working with numerous housing and health providers, helping them to understand each other, and build trust and confidence so they can make this new integrated approach to health become a reality.

HACT has always been a champion of communities and community investment. It’s why we’ve launched the Centre for Excellence in Community Investment, to which we hope all ALMOs will sign up – and attend our first ever conference on community investment in May this year.

The need to understand the community was the driver for another ALMO, Tower Hamlet Homes, when it got involved with the development of our Community Insight tool.

The organisation, along with four other social housing providers, recognised having access to data and information at a neighbourhood level was critical to hitting strategic objectives.

Since then, our Insight tools have helped social housing providers demonstrate not only their social purpose, but their social value, too.

If ALMOs are to thrive in the future, they will not only need to demonstrate their social value, but also engage in more radical transformation.

To enable this, we’ve been developing the UK Housing Data Standard, so that social housing providers can unlock the value of data, maximise the opportunities presented by the digital age and become more data-driven organisations.

Lewisham Homes was one of the founding members of our data standards work, and are still working with us, as we develop the third iteration of the standards.

HACT has a proud tradition of working with ALMOs in innovating and developing ideas and tools that enable them to deliver on their social purpose, for the benefit of their tenants, their communities and their businesses.

Our work in making places together has only just begun.

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