What Social Housing means to me

emma bruteSocial Housing means a lot to our new Neighbourhood Officer Emma Brute. Here she writes about her past, and how it informs the work she does:

Having grown up on a council estate in North Wales, it was a natural career for me to work in social housing.

My fondest memories are of playing “curby” on the road and parents of the estate playing rounders on the school field in front of our house. Everyone knew everyone. We knew who “kicked in” our back door one night, we knew the mother of the toddler who was found crying outside our back door at 3 in the morning, lost.

We were a community, good and bad, living together in the best way we knew how. We were labeled, but we didn’t care.

Social housing as it is now, wasn’t the same then. My mum often comments on how much better she would’ve coped as a single mum, had she received the help and support provided by housing associations and agencies today. But then my mum received help from her mum and my family. The need for families to move to find employment is far greater today, resulting in family support networks breaking down, often leaving vulnerable people on their own without any help.

With this in mind, something I always do as a Neighbourhood Officer is talk to people. We live in an age where email, Facebook and Twitter are common and effective forms of communication but it is easy to forget the person behind a tweet, the face behind a post, the voice behind a message. I speak with tenants all the time on a range of different issues from dumped rubbish to acquiring their home. Only this morning I was speaking to a tenant who is volunteering his homemade sleigh for a Festive event in New Tredegar! It’s fair to say no two days are ever the same.

Facilitating communities to work together to empower individuals is the most rewarding part of the job. A lady who was made redundant recently, attended a surgery I arranged and is now volunteering as a digital inclusion champion for United Welsh. She was so pleased. Having been made redundant myself in the past, I know how this feels and shared her elation in being asked.

The job is busy, it can be demanding but I believe in the need for social housing and want to be a part of it. It has served me well.

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