#HousingDay 2017: What social housing means to Riverside customers

Today is #HousingDay 2017 which celebrates the difference that social housing makes to people all over the country.

This year the day is focused on telling customers’ stories and dispelling misconceptions about who lives in social housing. 

Next year Riverside will be 90 years old and our roots go back to 1928. We began life as Merseyside Improved Houses with 15 homes in Swan Street, Liverpool. Today we have around 100,000 customers all over the country – and we know many are proud to be social housing tenants.

To celebrate #HousingDay 2017, we spoke to some of our customers about what social housing means to them.

Riverside is also one of 17 housing associations sponsoring the Benefit to Society campaign, which aims to tackle common misrepresentations about who lives in social housing. Part of the initiative includes Fair Press for Tenants, a guide for media workers to encourage a different approach to covering social housing in the news.

Sally Trueman, a volunteer from North East, has been a Riverside customer for seven years and is a member of our Group Board.

“Social Housing gave me the help and support while going through a difficult time,” says Sally. “It helped me to get my life back on track.”

Maria Milford is a part-time youth worker in Liverpool and is a member of Riverside’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, which monitors the services we provide to make sure they’re well-managed and deliver value for money.

Maria said: “Social housing to me means support to develop the area that I live in, affordable homes and giving families a safe place to live.”

Pauline Simpson, a domestic catering assistant for the NHS in Leicester, said: “I’ve been a Riverside customer for about four years and I’m really happy in my home.  

“I’m an actively involved customer and I hope to get guidance from Riverside to give lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers a voice and visibility.”

Robert Lowther, from Carlisle, said: “Social housing gives me the independence and a home which is accessible for wheelchair users like me.  If it wasn’t for social housing a lot more people would be living on the streets.”

Chris Leavy, operations manager for a financial advice company, is a resident on a Riverside state in Middleton.

He said: “I used to live in social housing and then I bought my own property.  I stayed within the Langley estate because my son, daughter and other members of my family live in Riverside homes.  My daughter has just been able to buy her property through Right to Buy from Riverside. Having social housing in the area has allowed me to live close to my family.”

Find out more by following #HousingDay on Twitter. You can also hear from Riverside customer Florence, who was born in her home 95 years ago and has never moved out, and Linsey, who was helped by Riverside when times were tough.