#HousingDay, the 24-hour social media event to celebrate the positive impact of social housing on millions of tenants, will take place this year on 8th October.
Now in its sixth year, #HousingDay continues to play an important role in raising the profile of the social housing sector, helping tackle stigma and ensuring the voices of residents are heard.
This year’s event will seek to promote the work both social landlords and residents are doing to support communities across the UK.
The Community Investment theme comes amid austerity measures, including the rollout of Universal Credit and a lack of affordable housing – making life hard for communities up and down the country.
“#HousingDay has always been a celebration of social housing and the important role it can play in improving people’s lives,” said the event’s lead, Leslie Channon.
“Community investment is one of things that we do that can sometimes go unnoticed but in fact can have a hugely beneficial impact.
“This year, the #HousingDay team is hoping to highlight this important area of work and remind people that it shouldn’t be a ‘nice thing to do’ add-on but an integral part of the business.
“At the end of the day, it is much more cost effective to sustain a tenancy, keep people in their homes, and build a community than it is to seek a repossession and evict a family.”
Expected to be celebrated on the day, many social landlords have stepped in to provide services in the UK that otherwise “might’ve been closed” – with community investment now said to be an increasingly vital component of housing providers’ commitment to residents.
Despite the good work of many landlords, community investment expert Barry Malki, who is helping to co-ordinate #HousingDay this year, said there is still work to do.
“Community Investment is absolutely at the heart of social housing, but it is amazing how many organisations still don’t see it as core business,” he explained.
“Following the spending review in England in 2015, we saw huge cuts to community investment, which went some way to highlight how it was ‘expendable’ in the light of adversity.
“The sector is definitely on the back-swing of these cuts, with a growing emphasis on community investment becoming apparent and teams thinking a lot more strategically about what they deliver.
“There is some truly amazing work going, but my concern is still that it isn’t rooted deeply enough in the broader housing context.”
He added: “Housing is a huge stakeholder in any community, and decisions will affect many lives for better or worse, so it is critical that we understand our role as a sector in this.
“I think we have a lot of work to do as a sector to bring community investment into the mainstream and ensure that it becomes routinely seen as a core service to be protected against financial difficulties.
“This year’s #HousingDay can play a part in that.”
Encouraging everyone to get involved, positive stories across the sector are welcomed on the annual day.
The Twitter hashtag is #HousingDay.
Follow @housingday for more information.