Residents Barbara Seacombe and Colin Lincoln from LiveWest housing association have joined the ‘See the Person’ committee, a campaign group which began in 2017. The group is led and organised by social housing residents and staff working in partnership to combat the stigma associated with those who live in social housing.
Barbara Seacombe a LiveWest resident from Somerset said: “I grew up in Middlesbrough in a council house, my parents lived in the same home for over 40 years. I know what the receiving end of stigma was as I was growing up. I now live in Minehead, Somerset, a beautiful area but not without certain elements of stigma. As an adult I’ve always tried to make a difference and always will.”
LiveWest has supported the group with a £3000 donation to help fund its national work following the recent launch of the Government’s white paper. The Charter for Social Housing Residents highlighted throughout that many social housing residents feel they are perceived negatively by the organisations that own their homes and society in general.
Colin Lincoln a LiveWest resident from Plymouth said: “We all need accommodation be it council, housing association, private landlord or even home ownership of some description. The media seem to stereotype social housing. I hope that I can highlight the many decent people who contribute to society and break this stigma that is labelled at them.”
Martyn Lund Chair of See The Person said: “We have heard how, in social housing, people’s experience, including stigma, can be shaped by their interactions with frontline staff.”
“Social homes are a vital part of diverse communities across the country. Yet residents told us they often felt stigmatised, and that a shift was needed in the way residents are perceived and treated.”
As well as training for both staff and residents, the committee meet regularly and work with the Government and housing providers on this important issue. Their aim is to deliver a high impact campaign that will challenge the way the public think and tackle the stigma associated with social housing tenants something we all have a part to play in.
For LiveWest being involved with the ‘See the Person’ campaign will enable them to have access to the expertise of the ‘See the Person’ committee members to support with training for staff, contractors and our customers. The partnership also further reinforces LiveWest’s commitment to building relationships with its customers to enable customers and staff to have more involvement in improving the stigma associated with social housing tenants.
Debbie Sims Customer Engagement Officer at LiveWest said: “This is such a great opportunity to be involved in a project which has national recognition and is acknowledged in the white paper. We will work with the group to offer training to our staff, contractors and customers and celebrate the great work our residents are doing every day in our communities.”
Overall ‘See the Person’ has the following campaign aims:
1. We will encourage the British public to better understand the stigma associated with social housing tenants and the impact this has on their lives.
2. We will inspire the public to see social housing tenants in a fairer, more balanced way.
3. We will challenge politicians to recognise social housing tenants as their constituents and make it a clear political necessity that negative language and assumptions are challenged by them.
4. We will challenge the housing sector when their communications, language or behaviours perpetuate negative stereotypes about tenants.
5. We will change the way the wider media communicates stories and news involving social housing tenants, their homes and their communities.
6. We will organise a tenant led campaign, supported in partnership by housing staff and others.
To find out more visit: https://seetheperson.org/