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11 January 2021

Andrew Myatt and Serena Jones – Housing Management SDG

Andrew Myatt and Serena Jones – Housing Management SDG

Andrew Myatt is Chair of the Housing Management Strategic
Delivery Group. The Group focuses on issues including tenant engagement,
evictions, and the Renting Homes Act, and supports CHC with lobbying
and advocacy work.


Where do you work and what do you do?


Tai Calon as Director of Communities and Housing.


Why did you choose a career in housing?


I was considering becoming a town planner but realised that people
are much more interesting than buildings. After University, I became a
housing trainee at Bristol City Council and loved every minute.


What is the most important thing you have learned since starting your career in housing? Really
listen to learn. There is no shame in not knowing. Respect and look
after yourself and others will do the same. Smile and laugh frequently.


Where would you be working, if not in housing?


Running a smallholding in rural France. Poor but happy.


What’s your favourite part of the job?


The unexpected. That’s what working with people gives you.


What motivates you?


That fundamental change to such an unfair society will eventually happen. And a love of cheese.


What’s your greatest achievement?


Making people smile. Occasionally.


What are you most proud of from the Housing Management SDG?


Sharing ideas, experiences, and views so openly. It doesn’t feel as
though there is a personal or organisational agenda. Support and advice
are so accessible.


Why did you put yourself forward to be Chair?


To stretch myself away from business as usual.



Serena Jones is Vice Chair of the Housing Management Strategic Delivery Group.


Where do you work and what do you do?


Coastal Housing. Executive Director of Operations – responsible for
all housing, estates, and maintenance services to 6000+ homes.


Why did you choose a career in housing?


I started my career working in hostels for young homeless people in
central London because I was an activist and motivated my social justice
and tackling inequality. I stayed in social housing for the same reason
– good quality affordable housing is the bedrock of a fair and just
society.


What is the most important thing you have learned since starting your career in housing?


It’s impossible to choose one thing. My career has been all about
learning (and unlearning) practices and approaches. So perhaps that’s
the most important thing – always be open to changing how you work
because there are always ways to improve.


Where would you be working, if not in housing?


I have daydreams of being a human rights lawyer, so perhaps that’s my
alternative universe job. That, or a body positive yoga teacher. Or
maybe both.


What’s your favourite part of the job?


I especially love the work we’ve done to embed restorative approaches
into how we build, maintain, and repair relationships and how much
richer and more honest our working relationships are as a result.
Nothing beats getting out and about with people though and I look
forward to getting back out with estates, repairs, and housing teams and
listening to residents once COVID is a memory.


What motivates you?


Social justice and tackling inequality; courage and vulnerability.


What’s your greatest achievement?


Nothing I’ve ever achieved has been because of me alone. I’m going to
say something general rather than specific – throughout my career I
have been the person prepared to question the norm, challenge the
convention, and (constructively I hope) criticise practice and
approaches. It hasn’t always made me popular but I hope that people
recognise that I’m motivated by wanting us all (me included) to do
better. My greatest achievement then has been never accepting the status
quo.


What are you most proud of from the Housing Management SDG?


The relationships it has helped create across, and between, different
organisations senior housing teams and the way this has facilitated
shared learning and consensus building. This meant that when COVID hit,
we had a platform to work collaboratively and I’m grateful to colleagues
across the Welsh housing sector for their contributions in the SDG and
beyond.


Why did you put yourself forward to be Vice Chair?


Housing management has never been so high profile, from the
challenges of tackling homelessness, to allocations and repossession
activity, to rent and service charge setting and their affordability and
the lessons we are still learning from Grenfell in terms of building
safety, estates management, and listening to complaints and concerns. It
felt like the right time to try and support constructive conversations
in these areas and beyond.


Find out more about the Housing Management SDG here.