My 25-year journey in the world of Housing started with Homelessness with a London local authority facing huge challenges with a lack of affordable housing. I quickly became absorbed in the role as I navigated both legislation and communicating some tough decisions to individuals and families.
Homelessness many years later is still at the center of conversations about social housing and if anything, the lack of homes is even more apparent. I have since then worked for different social landlords in the Northwest.
I arrived in the sector by chance and began to build my knowledge by completing a PG Diploma and MSC in Housing Practice, one day a week over 3 years whilst working full time – I had the opportunity to meet other housing professionals from across the Northwest. Qualifications are mostly a way to test memory and writing skills but invaluable to me was that it gave ‘Housing’ a context and a history. In addition, I scored the highest average on the diploma for all assignments in my cohort and that taught me a lot about the importance of consistency.
The social housing sector is facing huge challenges with the changes in Regulation, spotlight on complaints, and customers living through a cost-of-living crisis which has seen reduced services both within statutory and non-statutory agencies. SHG recognizes the importance of having well-trained and customer-focused neighbourhood officers provide both proactive through tenancy visits and responsive frontline service to customers in the neighbourhoods we manage. The regular walkabouts, partnership approach, and using customer satisfaction measures to influence change ensure that the customer voice is both sought out and listened to.
I am a sum of the total parts of the places I have worked, the colleagues I have learned from, and the customers who have taught me that professionals need to listen more. There is never a boring day leading neighbourhood teams because it is about People and Place, the working week might be tough sometimes but there is nowhere else I would rather be.Anila KhalidAssistant Director - Neighbourhoods