What social housing means to me: Debbie Munro

I have now been involved with Social Housing for a decade…..time flies in this sector! I initially came into Housing following gaining an HNC in Social Studies which I studied whilst my daughters were in their early school years. From there I knew that I wanted to work with people but wasn’t entirely sure where…

I went on to gain a Housing Admin job with a busy local authority team in the North East of Scotland.   This role gave me a good basis and understanding of housing applications and allocations as well as dealing with the varied queries which tenants and applicants needed answers to.  From there I did a few years in Housing Options which allowed me to progress my Continued Professional Development, and was a role that I enjoyed.   I worked closelt with caseloads and developed a good understanding of Homelessness and Housing Options whilst gaining lots of experience dealing with individual circumstances and how these can impact on housing, as well as lots of other aspects of life.

Following that I became a Housing Officer with the local authority and laterally with a Housing Association who specialises in housing for people with disabilities as well as some mainstream housing stock in the North East of Scotland.  Under normal circumstances I can do a lot of travelling; covering a large geographical area, though at present I am working from home due to Covid19 and am just beginning to get out and about a bit more again.  I miss the interaction with tenants and support staff…..these interactions and building working relations with different personalities are part of what make my role such a varied and interesting one.

For me home is where I can relax and be around my own family.  It isn’t just about the size or location but about feeling safe and secure in our surroundings.  I think it is important to remember this when dealing with tenants….they may not own the bricks and mortar but their tenancy is their home and as Housing professionals we must be mindful that we are stepping into or discussing their own personal home environments.

Social Housing is crucial to communities and I am glad to say that stock within my own local authority has been greatly improved, both in numbers, with new build stock increasing in different towns, and the types of properties available. Social housing allows people to build a home and settle long term if they want to; it is more affordable and much more secure than the private sector and allows people who may struggle to gain accommodation within other sectors, to still have opportunities to create a home and settle within a community.

For me it is important to listen to your tenants and seek their views.  I want to build good relationships with tenants and their support networks as ultimately this helps to make sure their social housing experience is a positive one.

Debbie Munro

Housing Services Officer