University of Glasgow student wins CIH Malcolm Smith Award

University of Glasgow student wins CIH Malcolm Smith Award

Award winner Kevin Howe receiving the trophy from CIH engagement manager Mike Dougan (Image credit: Mike Dougan)

University of Glasgow housing student Kevin Howe has received a prestigious award for his work outlining the implications of rent controls in the private rented sector.

Kevin, who is studying for an MSc in housing studies, was awarded the Malcolm Smith Memorial Award by CIH Scotland. The accolade, judged anonymously, is given for the best piece of work, with a focus on housing law and policy, during the last academic year by a student in Scotland.

Commenting on the award, Kevin said: “Being presented with the Malcolm Smith Award is a really proud moment for me and I would like to thank Craig Gurney for putting forward my work. I also want to thank the other lecturers on the Housing Studies course as well as my fellow students for all their support throughout my first year.

“The purpose of my report was to consider the implications, both positive and negative, of rent controls within the private rented sector. This was a really interesting topic for me to examine as the issue of rent control has recently come to the fore, however, as I learned through my report, the topic is hotly contested and more complex than many people realise.

“I am currently working within Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership’s Homelessness Service and I am looking forward to developing my career within the partnership as we aim to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness. I would also like to thank Service Managers, Alan Robertson and Gary Quinn, as well as Head of Service, Jim McBride, for supporting me throughout my studies.”

Dr Craig Gurney, programme director for the Postgraduate Diploma/MSc Housing Studies Programme and lecturer in housing studies at the School of Social & Political Sciences (Urban Studies) University of Glasgow, added: “We’re delighted to learn that our student Kevin Howe has won this prestigious award.

“The quality of written work produced by our students is always of a high standard but this assessment task - which evaluated different models of rent control and regulation - really brought the best out of the cohort.

“Kevin’s work stood out. It was well written, demonstrated considerable critical engagement with a wide range of sources and made timely and pertinent policy recommendations.”

Kevin will receive a £100 award, alongside the coveted trophy.

About this year’s winner:

We caught up with Malcolm Smith 2023 award winner Kevin Howe to delve a bit deeper into his career and aspirations for the future.

What do you do?

In my current role as Assistant Service Manager for Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership’s (HSCP) Homelessness Service, I have responsibility for the delivery of the HSCP’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP). The RRTP sets out how the HSCP will deliver on the local and national strategic objectives in relation to the prevention of homelessness, where possible, and ensure that those households who experience homelessness are supported into settled accommodation as quickly as possible.

How did you start your housing career?

I began my career as a support worker in the voluntary sector within a large-scale homelessness hostel for men during its decommissioning. My role was to support the residents as they moved out of the hostel into more suitable accommodation.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career to date?

In my current role, I am looking to help shape and improve the service which we deliver to homeless households. I have really enjoyed working alongside those with lived experience of homelessness and learning from their knowledge and experience as to how we can deliver a service which puts service users at the forefront of what we do.

Why did you decide to study for the MSc/Post grad diploma in Housing?

I have always been interested in homelessness and housing and wanted to better understand various aspects of housing including housing markets, sustainability, Private Rented Sector etc. I am keen, within my role, to help shape and improve outcomes for homeless households and a better working knowledge of housing is essential to be able to do this.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying for a housing qualification?

As a part-time student in full time employment, the course has been very challenging but also incredibly interesting and rewarding. I have had the opportunity to be taught by excellent lecturers and have met some brilliant fellow students who I have enjoyed studying alongside. For anyone working in the housing or homelessness sector, and looking to increase their knowledge and skills, I would definitely recommend the Housing Studies qualification.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I love working in homelessness and don’t see myself ever leaving the sector. Working in homelessness is incredibly rewarding and I want to continue to help develop and improve the service as much as I can. I enjoy my current role, which has a focus on policy and performance, and would like to continue to work in that type of role at a more senior level

What tips would you give to someone thinking about a career in housing?

I would encourage someone thinking about a career in housing to come and work in homelessness instead! There is nothing more rewarding than working with those experiencing homelessness and supporting them to access their own permanent home.

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