Exploring the changing role of housing associations

Academics at the University of South Wales are researching ways in which housing associations could work more effectively with their tenants.

The research project, entitled Innovations in Tenant Engagement, will explore the changing role of housing associations in an ever-changing welfare environment.

Working in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association, USW held a workshop with representatives of community regeneration and development from 15 Welsh housing associations, along with academics from other universities in Wales.

The aim of the workshop was to share innovative practice in current tenant engagement initiatives, and, crucially, to explore how tenants can work with housing associations in a more productive way.

Thomas Lambourne, Human Geography researcher at the University of South Wales, said: “It is fantastic to see that our research is really challenging ideals, and providing an excellent opportunity for collaborative working with housing associations across Wales.”

Tim McDermot, Director of Operations at Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association, added: “The workshop has been a fantastic opportunity to be involved in real research project that will have an impact not only on our tenants, but on housing associations across Wales.”

Data and findings from the workshop will partly inform Thomas’s PhD in Human Geography, as well as an article in October’s Welsh Housing Quarterly, and a peer-reviewed academic paper. The project will continue for a further two years, and will place greater emphasis on tenants and their experiences of their home environment, in Merthyr Tydfil, and across Wales.

Innovations in Tenant Engagement is funded through the KESS 2 (Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships) programme, which links organisations with academic expertise in the Higher Education sector to undertake collaborative research projects.