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Read our comment piece in Inside Housing from our Chief Executive – it focuses on how we must be prepared to make decisions which don’t make commercial sense as we become Citizen

Today our Chief Executive, Kevin Rodgers, features in a comment piece in Inside Housing, the biggest magazine in the housing sector.

The piece, written by Kevin, focuses on how as housing associations, we must sometimes embark on projects simply because they are right.

You can read the full article here:

As housing associations, we must be prepared to make decisions which do not make commercial sense

Much has been written about the moves into social housing by profit-making organisations – something most of us in the sector find deeply troubling.

That isn’t because we are scared of competition, it’s because we know that to provide social housing that has a real impact you have to make decisions which are not driven by profit.

We must make decisions about our investments with the same rigour and scrutiny as commercial organisations but ultimately be prepared to be guided by what is right and not necessarily what is profitable.

Very real pressures we have all faced, particularly in recent years with rent cuts and reduced grant rates which have forced us to focus on efficiencies and cost cutting, but we cannot lose sight of our sense of purpose.

We officially became Citizen this week. For us, this is a chance to double down on our commitment to add real social value in our communities.

That’s why the first projects we’ve announced as Citizen are two major regeneration projects in inner-city Coventry, which will cost us £35m.

These projects pose a real financial challenge for us and neither will make us a penny in extra rent. In fact we will lose rental income because one of the projects will see us demolish a tower block and replace it with a smaller number of new homes.

But the work will see improvements to hundreds of homes for people in our communities and tackle the priority issues for our tenants: which is the quality of their home and the safety and security of their neighbourhood.

Housing associations are anchor institutions in our communities and we must continue to make a real impact on the lives of the people who live in our homes. That’s how and where we add real value.

As Citizen, we will continue to have an ambitious development programme so that we can help more people who need a good-quality new home, but for us it also means remembering we already have 30,000 homes and tens of thousands of residents who deserve a good home, too.

I was proud to be part of the National Housing Federation’s great places commission and in our site visits across the North and the Midlands, there were fantastic examples of successful regeneration projects with proud people and vibrant communities.

There were also places that felt left behind or that missed out when government priorities and the economy changed. Creating great places requires significant investment, bold leadership and a long-term vision.

That is what we are trying to achieve with our regeneration ambitions at Citizen and working with the community and our partners; I am confident and excited for our future.

As housing associations, we have to be prepared to do this: to throw ourselves headfirst into investing in projects from which we will see no return, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Kevin Rodgers, Chief Executive, Citizen

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