Welfare reform, lack of housing supply and the increasing gap between income and housing costs are having the biggest impact on front-line housing roles according to new research.
The UK-wide research across over 1,000 tenants and housing professionals, commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Wheatley Group, found that front-line workers want their employers to provide education and training, but also wellbeing support to help them cope with fear, distress and suicide threats from tenants under increasing pressure.
Dr Jo Richardson from De Montfort University’s Centre for Comparative Housing Research, which carried out the study, said, “Housing professionals are often the one constant in some tenants’ lives. Where other public services respond in a crisis, housing is already there and can observe and act quickly when intervention is needed.”
The research found that mobile technology is increasingly freeing housing workers from the office, allowing them to spend more time on their ‘patch’ and in customers’ homes. Furthermore, the tenants who responded to the survey said they would like to see even more of their housing officers, with some keen for tenants to play a stronger role, using their knowledge of their own neighbourhoods to work alongside housing professionals.
Judy Waugh, director of membership, Chartered Institute of Housing, said, “This is business for a purpose; this research shows that housing professionals believe maximising income is vital if they are to continue to deliver services and invest in new and existing homes.
“This research shows that front-line housing professionals are providing hugely valuable services, and also demonstrates the pressure they are under from welfare reform and the housing crisis, so it’s vital that employers invest in training, education and support for their staff.”