7th Oct 2020
Today, on #HousingDay, we need to look at the work we do as a huge positive.
We provide thousands of people with a place they can call home and we’re able to invest in our wider communities for the good of everyone. I’m going to highlight one example from earlier this year.
As the Covid crisis affected people’s ability to go about their normal everyday lives, so too did another crisis: those being affected by domestic abuse. While referrals to services like the Connexus operated Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service (at the time) remained low, there were reports of dramatic increases of calls to domestic abuse helplines. Anticipating a spike in demand, refuges worked tirelessly to source extra accommodation.
In Herefordshire, a partnership between, Connexus, Herefordshire Council and West Mercia Women’s Aid had been formed. Supported by funding from The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, the group was tasked to provide extra accommodation for people affected by domestic abuse. People, it’s important to remember, who can be accompanied by children. Thus further increasing accommodation need.
With government restriction preventing non-emergency house moves, Connexus gave maximum priority to void properties that could meet the needs of those fleeing domestic abuse. It gave a proper home to people, and along with fantastic support from the local community we were able to source things like sofas and white goods too.
With homes made available, necessities like fridges, sofas and mattresses were needing to be sourced. Having been notified, Herefordshire Community Recycling and Reuse Group sent out requests to their 4,000+ members for donations. The communities within Herefordshire took the requests to heart and delivered. Andrew Wood, from the group commented upon how:
We were flooded with donations, the people of Herefordshire really wanted to help.
At face value, this article is one about domestic abuse support. But it’s also one about collaboration and community. It’s an example of the unique position that Housing Associations are able to play in their communities.
Housing Associations employ people whose role is to actively engage in their local patches. They’re able to offer grants, financial support and housing to customers and the wider community. Connexus, like other not-for-profits, is able to take decisions tailored towards the community in a way that private landlords often can't.
We should take confidence in this and be mindful of insights from charities like Shelter, who, just this week, detail of how half of private renters do not feel safe or secure in their homes. We are a housing association. The work we do matters because the lives we help matter.
7th Oct 2020