Lorna Wilson: The future’s housing

As the SFHA reveals Housing Futures as the fourth strand of its Innovation and Future Thinking programme, Lorna Wilson shares her thoughts on the announcement.

Lorna Wilson: The future’s housing

Lorna Wilson

In 2018, SFHA launched its Innovation and Future Thinking programme to bring members and other stakeholders together to collaboratively develop new ideas and solutions for the future.

The programme initially had three strands: (Home of the Future, Service Transformation and Tackling Poverty and Demonstrating Impact) and the progress that has already been made by SFHA members and partners has been phenomenal – as can be seen from the first year’s evaluation.

Amongst the evaluation’s recommendations was the need to continually look at ways to reinvigorate the programme to maintain momentum, providing opportunities for more SFHA members as well as supporting the growing appetite for examples of exemplary practice – not just from Scotland but across the UK.

That is why I am delighted to announce that SFHA is joining up with colleagues from the National Housing Federation in England and Community Housing Cymru in Wales for what will be the biggest collaborative exercise ever undertaken by our sector – ‘Housing Futures’. This will be the fourth strand for our IFT programme.

This work has never been more necessary. We are facing the perfect storm of a growing population and one which is getting older, more people living alone, people struggling with the costs of private rent and homeownership and changing aspirations across the board about how and where we live. And this is set alongside our climate emergency, growing poverty and inequality, including homelessness and a continually evolving political environment.

So, if our sector is going to continue to build much needed new social affordable housing and ensure existing stock is fit-for-purpose, the question is not whether we ‘think differently’, but how? And it must be as soon as possible.

Over the next few months, we will reveal more details of our exciting plans for Housing Futures, particularly around building our sector’s capacity.

The first step will be to identify what is the biggest social challenge that our sector can look at innovative ways of addressing. And to do that we need your help.

What do you think the sector needs to tackle? We are not looking for detailed suggestions at this stage, but rather high-level challenges.

Emphasis should be on problems which adversely affect a significant number of people and will become more acute if not tackled – and which cannot be addressed by any single housing association alone.

Send your suggestions of challenges to innovation@sfha.co.uk or if you want any more information then please get in touch at lwilson@sfha.co.uk

  • Lorna Wilson is innovation and future thinking lead at the SFHA
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