UK social housing residents have spoken and they want to feel a greater sense of community and improved safety, as revealed in the Resident Voice Index™ report released today.
A nationwide survey of nearly 4,000 residents was designed in collaboration with social housing residents and providers. Participants shared their views on their sense of belonging to and caring about being involved in their community, perceptions of safety within their neighbourhood and the local services that matter most to them.
- The level of respondents who feel a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood is low (around 3 in 10), but almost half want to feel part of their community.
- The most important amenities for respondents related to health and wellbeing. Results showed that currently 90% live within 15 minutes of a GP surgery and 89% within 15 minutes of green spaces, indicating that they are generally well provisioned.
- 40% of respondents feel safe in their neighbourhood while around three in ten do not.
- Those who feel safe are four times more likely to feel they belong to their community. Conversely, amongst those who don’t feel safe, only 12% feel that they belong.
- The four most common topics that emerged to improve residents’ feelings of safety were increases to policing, tackling drugs, and improved lighting and CCTV.
- 84% of survey respondents do not believe their housing provider improves their sense of community.
- Younger respondents generally held more negative views of their communities, with neighbourhoods appearing to be better suited to older generations.
- Analysis revealed that targeted community interventions could increase the sense of belonging within neighbourhoods from one third to over one half of social housing residents.
- Policy makers, planners and providers can develop and implement strategies that foster a sense of community amongst residents. This, in conjunction with practical measures on streets around lighting, CCTV and crime could significantly improve feelings of safety.
- There is an opportunity for housing providers to open greater lines of communication, customised to their residents, who we found, often did not know what their provider did in the community.
- Investment and planning for communities of the future may benefit from more consultation and involvement from young residents.
About the project
Developed by MRI Social Housing, a leading UK technology provider for the local authority and housing association sector, the Resident Voice Index™ initiative aims to assess how social housing residents feel about their neighbourhoods and provide solutions to help policy makers, planners and providers of housing and local services improve the lives of social housing residents.
The Resident Voice Index™ is the product of collaborative work across numerous agencies and has been designed alongside social housing providers and residents. All responses to the survey are anonymous in order to build trust and ensure that answers are given openly and candidly. All results are published in a transparent fashion for anyone who wants to consume them.
Addressing the project, Dermot Briody, Executive Managing Director of Europe at MRI Software said:
“We fundamentally believe in the power of technology to improve the lives and experiences of social housing residents, and the launch of our Resident Voice Index™ initiative is a perfect demonstration.
“Not only will we be capturing the mood of residents across the UK, but we can develop a deeper understanding of the factors and trends behind the results – and they in turn can be used to elevate service provision.
“As an independent provider, we feel our platforms offer an ideal space for residents to express their views safely and freely. We are confident that their insights, qualified against the wealth of data captured in our own solutions, will create authoritative outputs.”
Download a copy of this report at residentvoiceindex.com
About MRI Software
MRI Software is a leading provider of web-based solutions for housing associations and local authorities in the UK and Ireland. Through the comprehensive suite of customer-focused products and applications that form our MRI Social Housing offering, we deliver flexibility, choice and scale to more than 850 clients in the region. In total, our team serves more than 3,000 organisations in social, affordable, public and community housing worldwide. With deep domain knowledge, 50 years’ experience and world-class innovation as our platform, we believe in our ability to make a difference. We are committed to transforming residents’ lives and experiences, and it’s our goal to become the trusted technology partner of choice for the sector.