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#HousingDay: ‘The importance of home’

It’s #HousingDay 2020 today (7 October) and we're helping to celebrate the positive impact of social housing by taking part in the national 24-hour social media event.

You can join the discussion at twitter.com/housingday #HousingDay

The focus for this year is ‘the importance of home’ and highlights the crucial role decent, safe and affordable housing plays.

Commenting on the theme, #HousingDay lead Leslie Channon, who lives locally and is a Cottsway customer, said: “Never has there been more of a time, in recent history, where the importance of home and community has been so starkly demonstrated within our society.”

It’s imperative that everyone should have a place to call home. Earlier this year, we reached our 5,000th home milestone. During 2019-20 we invested £38.5 million in providing 186 new homes and spent a further £7.2 million on maintaining and repairing existing homes.

But as Vivian Rosser, our Chief Executive, explains: “A house is more than just a home. It’s somewhere we need to feel safe and secure, especially given that many of us have had to juggle working from home while home-schooling the children recently!  

“It’s vital that we support our customers and a decent home and supportive local community goes a long way towards a better mental health and wellbeing. #HousingDay is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the many ways we're continually improving to ensure that our customers, and the wider community, are at the heart of everything we do.”

What we’re doing

To follow are just a few examples of how we’re supporting our customers and the local community:

  • Investment in new homes: We plan to double the number of homes we own and manage to 10,000 over than next 10 years to provide more housing for those in need.
  • Community housing: We are currently supporting eleven under 35s on out-of-work benefits by giving them a home and helping them get back into work.
  • Working with others: We are working with Aspire Oxfordshire, alongside West Oxfordshire District Council, to provide support and housing for homeless people in West Oxfordshire as part of the ‘Housing First’ project.
  • Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire: We grant-fund this money and debt advice service so that all our customers, regardless of where they live, can get free, independent advice.
  • Community Fund: Since April 2020 we have grant aided £12.4k to nine community-led initiatives to help local people help others in their community.
  • Calls to elderly and vulnerable: From late March to July we made over 2,790 calls to elderly and vulnerable customers to ensure they weren’t feeling isolated during the initial UK lockdown.
  • Digital improvements: We’ve improved our website so we can interact more easily with customers online and have introduced text messaging. People can now also sign-up online when they join us as customers rather than needing to meet face-to-face.
  • Online support: We offer a free tablet or smart phone loan scheme to help our customers get online.
  • Community and customer support: We are creating opportunities to support customers and communities through workshops and training, such as coaching and mentoring for those who have been affected by the pandemic.

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