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Message from Communities that Work Managing Director

Lynsey Sweeney, MD, Communities that Work

Covid-19 is a global public health emergency with huge human, social and economic costs.  As the reality of restrictions to our ordinary lives take hold in the UK, we now enter a period of rapid adaptation, with change demanded daily.  In the coming weeks, we may arrive at a ‘new normal’ way of being with family, friends, colleagues, work and services – but there is a way to go for all of us.

And housing providers, like all of us nationwide, have dramatically changed how they prioritise and deliver services.  I’ve been immediately impressed by the quality and speed of response from member housing associations and their dedication to their residents. Yet the challenges we will all continue to face can’t be underestimated. Communities that Work members own and manage almost 1.6m homes and support thousands of people into employment.  We know that this health crisis is most harmful to the vulnerable and older people in the communities we serve, many of whom are social housing residents and tenants.

Already, the hardest hit economically are those who are in insecure or lower paid jobs, and this shows no sign of slowing down. Less than one-in-ten of those in the bottom half of earners say they can work from home, making it much harder for them to protect their incomes in the face of social distancing (Resolution Foundation). A third of insecure workers fear homelessness, according to a RSA report published this weekend.

Housing providers are central to the response to this crisis now and to rebuilding communities as we go forward.

Communities that Work will use our political channels to keep pressing for support to our members and the communities they serve.  We have forged links with MPs and other parliamentarians, many of whom have joined our All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Social Mobility. We will champion your role as community anchors and as critical to sustaining livelihoods and supporting employment. In the short term, this means access to healthcare, to food, benefits, rent and pay. In the mid-term, the government needs to work with social housing providers to design and implement support to tackle unemployment and job insecurity, to meet new labour market needs, and enable all our neighbourhoods to survive and eventually thrive.

We face uncertain times ahead and we need to be responsive to changes as the new reality continues to emerge. Bringing members together, sharing expertise and adapting to more digital, social and other ways of working is key.

Our connected-ness, and our sense of place and community matters now, more than ever. Communities that Work will help to shape and support the work of housing providers who support residents and communities into employment, to ensure that in these difficult times, no one is left behind.

Stay connected and keep safe and well.

Lynsey

Lynsey Sweeney

Managing Director | Communities that Work

E: Lynsey.Sweeney@communitiesthatwork.co.uk; T: 07791 489 710; Tw: @CsthatWork

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