Our Daily Roundup of Inside Housing's Digital Housing Week – Day 4

  26 JUNE, 2020
digital housing week day 4

Amongst the topics discussed on Day 4 of Digital Housing Week was the creation of a new normal for, and with, our communities. Here are the thoughts of Sophie Seddon, Sue Minkley, and Peter Hordley.  


During and after Covid-19, how do we begin to create a new normal for, and with, our communities?

Session attended by People and Culture Director Sophie Seddon and Housing Partnership Manager Sue Minkley

Sophie's Views:

  • The new normal for the next 12 months will largely be centred around preventing the spread of coronavirus, with hygiene and social distancing key priorities when going into properties.
    Medication and other health related issues will be in focus in order to look after tenants; identifying mental and physical illness during this time.
  • Reviewing internal space to improve mental wellbeing of residents, exploring issues such as home working, exercising at home, natural light and outdoor space. The consensus is that community and green space needs to be improved.
  • Increasing communication and liaison with tenants to understand individual needs. During Covid there has been an increase in this activity and this will not go away. We have an opportunity to reconnect with tenants in a new way – digital technology as enabled this.
    We have observed new relationships being built between landlord and tenant, and this should be built on.
  • There was an 80% reduction in repairs calls but a significant increase in welfare and Anti-social behaviour calls.
  • Reviewing new ways to do repairs, looking at ‘bundles’ – addressing all the repairs that need to be done and go in and do them in one go. Additionally, taking a look at efficiencies not only to save cost, but to impact less on tenants
  • An MOT style model for the home was proposed.

Sue's Views:

  • Engagement goes Digital! Connectivity both in terms of accessibility and affordability, is an area that will need to be addressed by the sector - online can be a lifeline for many.
  • Tackle inequality, service provision, employ more - greater opportunities for persons with disabilities as remote working becomes the new normal.
  • The increased and focused communication should be maintained and not abandoned – continue to build relationships with your customers, understand their needs, deliver services more efficiently.
  • We need to build at least 34,000 housing new age-designated homes annually to keep up with age profile. Design considerations are critical to adopt to the new normal post Covid.

Key messages from Head of Partnerships, Peter Hordley

  • A poll of those attending the session on Agile Working showed that 88.5% of participants organisations are going to continue allowing working from home for at least the next 6 months.
  • Communities are no longer a physical entity as we knew them before Covid, they are now also an online community too and the sector has to adapt to this (Jenny Osbourne, TPAS).
  • Early research is indicating that the suicide death rate arising from Covid may actually be higher than the death rate from Covid itself (Dr Raj Persaud).

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