Housing policy must be based on evidence and experience says new CIH chief executive

New Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) chief executive Terrie Alafat has called on the government to make sure that housing policy is based on the evidence of its impact on the ground.

Speaking today (Tuesday 23 June) at Housing 2015, CIH’s annual conference and exhibition in Manchester, Terrie Alafat said she is aiming to make the voice of housing professionals heard so that their experience is taken into account.

She said: “Housing is such an intensely personal issue.

“Every individual feels the effect of our collective national failure to build enough homes.

“Whether it’s because we fear our children will not be able to afford their own home, we worry that as we get older we won’t be able to find the right kind of housing or we see family and friends struggling to find somewhere suitable to call home.

“We need to be honest, forthright and brave in setting out the important challenges and questions for housing that both government and our profession must respond to.

“We want housing that works for everyone all of the time rather than some people some of the time.

“And we believe, that with the right policy measures, we can get there.

“We will use the evidence to assess every policy on the basis of whether it will move us closer to our goal of housing that works for everyone. We will support those that do while arguing against those that do not.

“The new government is proposing some serious, radical and far-reaching changes which we must engage with as a profession. This will not always be easy or straightforward, but engage we must.

“The proposed extension of the right to buy is one such contentious policy area.

“Giving people the opportunity to achieve their aspiration of home ownership is a laudable policy objective.

“But not at any price. And that’s why evidence is so important.

“We will be working to ensure that discussions around policy proposals - like the right to buy - are properly informed by the evidence of their outcomes and impacts, both positive and negative.”

She added: “This week the government has confirmed its intention to find £12 billion of savings from the welfare budget.

“This is both challenging and unprecedented. Such far reaching change must not be made without a proper appreciation of what the evidence is telling us.”

Terrie Alafat said housing professionals across the industry are ready to work with the new government on policies that will make a real difference in tackling our national housing crisis.

She said: “You have an unparalleled understanding of what the real problems are and how policies actually work on the ground.

“My job is to make sure your expertise is heard and appreciated in the heart of government and that it influences the policy choices that government makes.

“We know the government will be making some tough choices.

In such an environment it’s even more important that the voice of housing professionals and the benefit of their experience is heard.”

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