It’s a week on from our successful annual TPAS Cymru conference and I’ve now had time to reflect on some of the fascinating discussions and conversations had with tenants from across Wales. 

Conference Conversations: 5 questions for the housing sector to consider.

 

It’s a week on from our successful annual TPAS Cymru conference and I’ve now had time to reflect on some of the fascinating discussions and conversations had with tenants from across Wales.  There were certainly lots of conversations this year as conference was packed to bursting with delegates, all eager to find out and debate the latest housing and community issues and thinking.  What was fantastic was seeing so many tenants who are new to participation there, building on the skills and knowledge of experienced tenants with new ideas and fresh enthusiasm to improve housing and community services.

 

With 23 workshops included in the programme, there certainly was something for everyone, too many to name. Many of them sharing new approaches which encouraged new thinking and generated ideas with those attending to take away.  For example, delegates learnt their ABCD, thanks to fantastic workshop by Ross Williams of Coastal Housing on their asset based community development approaches. Personal messages shared by Ken Perry got people thinking about the importance of good housing and health and how the two sectors could work more together. There was also a useful update on the regulation of Housing Associations in Wales by Chair of Regulatory Board Helen White.

 

What was also great to see during the 2 days was tenants taking to the stage and delivering workshops such as Sam Shaw from Taff Housing and Sandra of Caerphilly CBC tenants. Tenants leading the topics for discussion and inspiring others to have to their say was real highlight of conference.

 

Being at our conference meant I missed the CHC conference and the launch by Stuart Ropke of #housinghorizons. I’ve since watched the animated video so have caught up on what is planned which includes some vital and ambitious commitments from the RSL sector and which should help to keep housing in the spotlight.  I’m hoping that any future plans for the social housing sector in Wales, such as #housinghorizons and housing policy decisions generally will also address many of the issues coming out of conversations had at conference. Tenants posed some fundamental questions about the future of social housing:

 

1.      How will rents and service charges be kept affordable as costs of living increase?

2.      Will the ethos of ‘social’ housing be lost as landlords diversify and build more ‘low cost’ housing?

3.      Will landlords be able to afford to maintain existing homes to WHQS standard and beyond?

4.      Will the value of local service provision and community knowledge be lost as landlords increase in size or merge?

5.      Will the most vulnerable be disadvantaged as landlords shift to providing services digitally and online?

 

As plans are made and polices approved these are key questions that need to be asked and explored. TPAS Cymru will build these questions into our 2018 programme and will ensure the Tenant’s voice is reflected at all levels of Housing decision making across Wales.