The sector has its fair share of challenges, not least in the form of meeting sustainability targets and the drive towards net zero emissions by 2030.
The housing industry is a high producer of carbon and is responsible for around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, however, it will be an uphill battle to both resource and implement sustainability initiatives in time to meet set targets. We are also still facing an acute undersupply of affordable and social housing across the UK, and increasingly, housing providers are looking towards ‘green’ bonds and other investment openings to help in the reduction of both carbon emissions and improvement of energy efficiency.
The rise in the cost of living across the UK has started to hit hard across our communities and is set to worsen, especially for those who are most vulnerable. Those worse off are already facing stark choices, as they navigate rises in food, heating and fuel prices, and many landlords are attempting to assist their tenants in various ways to help soften some of the financial blows, however many feel limited in what they can achieve, and it is uncertain where the economic and political landscape will steer us as we head further into 2022. As an industry, we work hard to make a positive difference to our communities, and this year is set to test our resilience further as we look for yet more channels to support those hardest hit.
The issues surrounding building safety and regulatory reforms are also still high on the agenda, and we are hearing some innovative ideas forming from housing directors and heads of service around interweaving sustainability and building repairs/retrofit to improve efficiency, save time and combine resources.
It has been more than 3 years since the Social Housing Green Paper was published, and last November, the White paper was finally produced, outlining the seven measures for transformation change that are set out to raise standards, increase transparency, improve the complaints process, and engage and empower social housing residents. A National Residents Panel is set to be formed, with the intention of helping to shape future social housing reforms, and there will be a high emphasis on building safety and accountability.
Despite (and perhaps due to) facing so many challenges from different areas, a more collaborative and innovative mindset is forming across the sector, as organisations begin to pool resources, ideas and skillsets, and invest in development of their leaders and their people as a way of addressing some of the collective challenges faced across the industry and build resilience. As we head towards the next quarter it will be interesting to see how greater tenant involvement initiatives contribute to the difficult decisions faced by RPs across the sector, and everyone gets to grips with the tasks ahead.