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#HousingDay – Harriet’s story

Created on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
by Kathryn Shaw

Resident involvement officer, Harriet Phillipson, talked to us about what she does, why her job is an important part of what we do here at Derwent Living and what she hopes #HousingDay will achieve.

When you tell people you work in resident involvement you’re often met with a blank expression; many people don’t have a clue what it is, or even how it fits into working in housing.

So what is resident involvement? In simple terms it’s enabling residents to have a say in the services that they receive. And when we say residents, we also mean tenants, customers and even the wider community.

I believe that it is not just important to provide people with a home; as a landlord you should ensure you are offering everyone receiving or affected by your services to have an opinion on how those services are run.

Our work with the Forum has led to a new lettable standard being developed, changes to office and phone line opening hours, and the scrapping of a void incentive scheme at resident’s request.

I’ve worked in social housing since 2008 and during that time I’ve seen many changes that have had a direct impact on our customer’s lives, the biggest of these changes being the Bedroom Tax.

It saddens me that we’re living in a society which is, time and again, devaluing the input that social housing can have on society as a whole. Although I like a challenge, it makes my job here at Derwent Living much harder. My job role means that I am on the front line, talking to our tenants every single day about how cuts to housing are affecting the services we can provide for them and how cuts to welfare are affecting their quality of life.

It’s easy to see why people who don’t work in the housing sector have more trouble empathising with the situation that a lot of our tenants are in. All I can do is continue to do my best to have a positive impact on customer’s lives every day and can only hope that, by telling my story for Housing Day, I can inspire others to do the same.

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