2020 will undoubtedly go down as one of the most unsettling, confusing and surreal years of many a generation. The year started with us pondering how regulatory involvement may shape the supply of new supported housing, worrying about the ever-present threat of benefit changes on the horizon and considering how continued cuts to local authority funding would impact the support sector as a whole. Our attention fairly suddenly and dramatically shifted to working out how we could help to protect the most exposed people in society in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
It was only in early March at our Board strategy day that we at Care considered our future strategy given the increasing demand for supported housing and the challenges for a smaller Association in a developer-led market. At that time we set our strategy to meet some of the need in the sector within parameters that ensured we were growing in a sustainable, managed and (as always) ethical way. Only a week or so later, our priorities shifted significantly to ensure our response to the growing threat of Covid-19 put the safety of our tenants and our team at the forefront.
Six months later we can now reflect on what a fantastic job our team have done in ensuring our homes are still safe and comfortable environments, despite the limitations and restrictions imposed. More than that, we would like to say a great big thank you to the individuals who support our tenants. We have been fortunate in that we have not lost anybody to the virus, and this is in the main down to the protection and professionalism of the many support staff. We know the battle is not yet won and there will be many changing challenges ahead, so it is certainly not time to get complacent.
At the same time we are making sure that we are pushing on with our sustainable growth plans, albeit with changes to the way we work which will see the introduction of more agile working practices over the coming months, a stronger focus on the environment and the positive impact we have, and the incorporation of 2 new team members who share our passion and values. We have continued to grow since March (adding an additional 25 high-quality tenancies) and have now surpassed 300 units of accommodation, all of which can help to meet the huge demand.
Nobody can accurately predict what the next months and years will bring, but as a solid, prudent and robust Association, we are well-positioned to ensure we continue to meet our tenants’ needs and those of people we hope to create homes for in the future.