ALISON Inman has handed over the presidential reins to her successor Jim Strang today, but there will be no let up in the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) campaign to tackle domestic abuse.
Strang, who is chief executive of Parkhead Housing Association in Glasgow, has already vowed to continue supporting Women’s Aid and to drive the Make a Stand campaign forward during his year as CIH President.
Aileen Evans, chief executive of Grand Union Housing, becomes vice president and she will in turn succeed Strang to the presidential role next year.
Make a Stand was launched back in June in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA). It asks housing organisations to make four commitments to provide support for people experiencing domestic abuse.
The response to the campaign has been “overwhelming” the CIH says, with 253 landlords signed up. Between them, they own and manage more than 2.4 million homes — nearly half of all social housing across the UK. That’s quite an apt result as Inman passes on the baton to her successor.
“The inspiration behind Make a Stand was my feeling that housing organisations could be doing so much more to support people who have experienced domestic abuse and I think the results speak for themselves,” Inman said. “The response from the sector has been amazing – we hoped that organisations would support what we were trying to achieve and they have absolutely embraced it.
“The most important thing is that millions of people in communities across the UK will be able to access more support and more protection from domestic abuse. I’d like to say a huge thank you to every single organisation and person who has been involved so far.”
As well as launching Make a Stand, Inman also used her presidential term to raise over £30,000 for her chosen charity, Women’s Aid and its sister organisations across the UK.
“My father was an extremely controlling and abusive man – this is an issue I have a really personal connection to and as a result I’m extremely passionate about it,” Strang said. “Domestic abuse affects so many people and everyone in housing has a responsibility to ask what more we can do. Alison leaves a fantastic legacy in Make a Stand and I’m looking forward to pushing this vital work on. It’s brilliant that 253 organisations have signed up so far – now we really want landlords who haven’t yet made the commitment to join us and make a stand against domestic abuse.”
CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: “During her time as CIH President Alison has lead the housing sector in challenging us all to do more to tackle domestic abuse and has been an amazing inspiration to all of our members around the world. I’d like to pay tribute to her passion, determination and tireless support of CIH as the professional body for housing. Alison leaves big shoes to fill but I know that Jim will be a fantastic successor and form a formidable team with Aileen.”
Kelly Henderson and Gudrun Burnet of DAHA said: “We are delighted with the success of the Make a Stand campaign, it is really heartening to see so many housing organisations making a stand against domestic abuse. This is a true testament to the drive and inspiration of Alison who has firmly put domestic abuse on the housing agenda.
“We are so excited to work with those housing providers who have made the initial step with the #MakeAStand pledge to support them to convert this in to full DAHA accreditation, which was recently backed publicly by [the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government]. This would never have happened without Alison’s extraordinary leadership and we very much look forward to continuing this incredible work with Jim.”
Katie Ghose, chief executive of Women’s Aid, added: “Home should be a place of safety but for thousands of women and children experiencing domestic abuse it can be the most dangerous place they can be. We’re delighted that over 250 housing organisations have signed up to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Make a Stand pledge.
“By signing this pledge, these housing organisations have recognised the important role they have in helping survivors – whether they need support to be safe in their own homes or set up a new home after fleeing their abuser. This is the first step to making sure every survivor and child gets the support they need from housing organisations to rebuild their life free from domestic abuse.”