One of the things that troubles me during the small hours of the night is knowing that housing – a basic human need – is in short supply. And I don’t just mean in the UK, where the problem is endemic within our socio-economic system, but globally, where the causes are even more complex.
According to the UN, there are around three billion people in the world without a place to call home, variously because they are victims of wars, repressive political systems, bungled economic policies, climate-related disasters or plain, old-fashioned poverty. As a fellow human, I can’t help but feel compassion for them and, as a housing professional, I can’t help but feel bound to do what I can to alleviate the situation.
But in case you haven’t already guessed it, I’ve not managed to concoct a panacea during those sleepless spells before dawn. The causes are too numerous and too varied for any single solution to be applied, even if there existed a universal will to do so.
Undaunted, however, I am keen to do what I can. The question is, what? Well, taking inspiration from Confucian philosophy (I think), a long journey begins with the first step. Massive problems are not resolved by walking around them so, beginning on home ground, my first steps were taken 15 years ago, when Alastair Tweedie (editor) and I first started our business, Housing Technology.
The UK has a large (although some would say not large enough) stock of social housing, all of which requires managing in respect of rental and maintenance. Until recently, the management processes have been piecemeal, personnel-heavy, inefficient and, therefore, costly. The introduction of digitised data and dedicated software to these processes is vital to introducing efficiencies and cost-savings to the sector and leaving it with more resources to devote to improving and increasing stock.
Housing Technology’s aim is to bring together the providers and potential users of such technology by establishing a trusted, central resource of information and an online library of video recorded events, talks and discussions relating to relevant topics. In doing so, we hope to expedite the transition of the sector from the 19th to the 21st century; so far, progress is promising.
I am grateful to be in a position to contribute something to the solution and to do so in a way that reflects a couple of my core values, honesty and integrity, qualities that are good for businesses and good for customers. Not that I expect to sleep any better by resting on my laurels, mind you; there’s all those other problems to sort out yet.
George Grant is the CEO, broadcaster and publisher of Housing Technology.