Find out about social housing careers
What are social housing jobs about and what kind of careers are available in social housing? We try to quickly answer these questions about this large sector of social care.
10th August 2012
Social housing jobs involve working within a team to provide affordable housing to those most in need. The government subsidises the rent prices of these houses in order to keep them affordable for people who are unable to work enough to afford standard housing. This may be due to chronic unemployability, disability or some other form of social or economic disadvantage. (You can view all of our social housing jobs here.
The housing is divvied out depending on who needs it the most. Your organisation will have an allocations policy that defines who is most in need.
This list is partly defied by the 'reasonable preferences criteria' but the organisation is responsible for the rest of the criteria. For instance, medical need, insanitary conditions or family caring/hardship needs will all prioritise housing service users.
In turn, housing associations and social landlords are overseen and regulated by the Communities and Local Government department of national Government and the Homes and Communities Agency. These bodies control funding and regulation.
Types of housing vary from place to place; some involve a shelter or support system, some purely provide the housing.
Types of jobs
Housing officer jobs focus on initiating, selecting, maintaining and supporting people's tenancies whilst support workers work day-to-day with tenants to support them in daily activities.
Generally, there isn't too much variance in housing officer roles but there are some more diverse and specific housing officer jobs.
For instance, tenancy support officers work with tenants to support them to maintain their tenancy as proactively as possible. This may involve decreasing anti-social behaviour, budgeting or housekeeping support for the home itself.
Similarly, rent arrears officers support tenants to keep up-to-date with their rent payments and work out repayment schemes for unpaid bills.
Other support worker roles may include working as an advice worker. These workers help with specific housing-related questions and direct people to relevant services that support daily living.
Behind the scenes, you will have senior housing officers and administrative assistance. Liaising between the office and front line are the Facilities Managers who ensure estates and housekeeping are well-maintained.
What kind of skills do you need?
Working in social housing jobs is a bit different to your average health care jobs or social care jobs. You tend to be more independent and self-managing as you have to attend many health and social care professional meetings and the housing can be spread out over quite a distance. As such, you need to organise yourself to get around and fulfil different needs.
This means that self-suffiency and organisation are important qualities as is the ability to multi-task and manage multiple cases.
In this kind of job, you will be working with a variety of vulnerable and socially-disadvantaged people so communication and a dedication to equality, diversity and advocacy are prime needs too. Empathy, compassion and a drive to support people to get the best for themselves will all go down well in social housing jobs.
What kind of academic background do I need?
In theory, you do not need any specialised qualifications. A reasonable level of education is needed – particularly literacy, numeracy and ICT – and relevant experience will always help.
However, most people who go straight into housing officer jobs will have graduate qualifications. If you only have GCSEs and A Levels, you can start off in administrative jobs or support worker jobs and work your way up.
Numerous training is available from BTECs to NVQs to SVQs to MAPPs. The Chartered Institute of Housing also has a variety of Housing courses for professional development.