We need to change the narrative with tenants

Tuesday 9th of May 2017

Here at Tpas we believe a big part of our role is to create the conversations that matter, be that on a local, regional or national level.

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Weve talked about the tenant voice in particular for a number of years. Its why weve brought together over 30 tenants to form our Tenant View platform and its why weve ran Find your voice courses in the past, specifically aimed at tenants. Were long term, big believers in supporting the determined, informed tenant voices from our membership. 


Theres something powerful about a tenant speaking out to help people understand the true purpose, value and issues of the social housing sector, over, for example, a communications officer or a chief executive.


Tenants voices have the power to inspire not only other tenants, but also challenge what our wider society thinks about social housing.


Were supporting the CommsHero event in May to bring together professional communications expertise with the tenant expertise of what it means to live in social housing. To help tenants develop their personal profile and grow their digital voice.

With highly respected social media and communications specialists such as Helen Reynolds and John Popham, this event will enable tenants to hear the very latest communications thinking to then decide for themselves how and where they would like to engage more in a more digital way.


Because you know, in our experience, tenants are incredibly familiar with digital communication techniques. Theyre often members, moderators and creators of their very successful local Facebook groups. For many tenants and community leaders, what they dont know about managing Facebook users isnt worth knowing!


So, this event isnt about just adding to their technical understanding, its about taking it to the next level.  If our sector is going to influence government to boost our social housing supply we need tenants with strong voices and an accessible, national profile.


Wed like more tenants to be able to tell their neighbours about a community event they attended, generate interest in a community issue that needs tackling through video or easily engage with their local MP and councillors on twitter to stimulate debate and increase accountability.  Wed really like to see more tenants shout about their achievements. Because we know from our Tpas Awards that there are many! We need to change the narrative and tenants can do that.


And its not just about a public voice, wed also like more tenants to be able to support their landlords by digitally engaging about a maintenance or service delivery issue. Before a simple repair becomes a bigger problem with a bigger bill.

The fact is engaging with tenants is becoming smarter, instant, transparent and diverse. Were seeing landlords mixing new ways to engage with more established  routes, such as scrutiny panels, to achieve maximum value and impact.


Every organisation is different but all great organisations know that tenants are key to the formula.


If we are all truly serious about creating resilience, increasing skills and getting far more digitally aware then it's time to invest in tenants. Enable them to reach the next level of communications. Come on #ukhousing, let's dare to try.

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