Housing 2024 Preview: Six Things To Look Out For

It’s nearly the end of June and for those who work in the social housing sector, that can only mean one thing – it’s time for the annual Housing conference! Things may be slightly different this time round given that the long-running event is no longer hosted in conjunction with CIH (with the trade body choosing to team up with the NHF to host its own Housing Community Summit in Liverpool later in the year). However, Housing’s agenda seems as action-packed as ever, with a wealth of thought-provoking seminars, speaking slots, and presentations scheduled in across the three days the event is running.

The big talking points for this year are undoubtedly tackling the continued financial strain on both tenants and social landlords, the rise of AI and its application in a social housing context, consumer standards and repairs, and net zero targets, with a wealth of sessions dedicated to all these topics on the cards from many different organisations. But with so many interesting and eye-opening slots to take in, you might be asking how you can possibly choose which ones to attend? Well, to make things a little easier for you, we’ve pulled together what we think are six of the most unmissable sessions to be taking place at Housing 2024…

Permanent Solutions to the Temporary Accommodation Crisis

Date & Time: Tue 25-Jun-2024, 09:30 – 10:30

Location: Charter 1

In a time of squeezed council budgets, an undersupply of social housing, and rising private sector rents, more people than ever are living in temporary accommodation. This session promises to be eye-opening in its exploration how those in the sector can enhance the availability and standards of existing temporary housing and discuss permanent solutions to provide stable homes for all. We’d go as far to say that it’s a must-attend for anyone invested in solving one of today’s most pressing housing issues.

Navigating the Political and Economic Landscape

Date & Time: Tue 25-Jun-2024, 12:00 – 13:00

Location: Exchange Auditorium

With an election on the horizon, this session could come in handy for those wishing to further understand what the promises of different political parties mean for the housing sector. Political and economic experts will examine the impact of the current climate on our ability to support vulnerable communities and solve the housing crisis. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain insights into how to navigate these unpredictable times.

A Live Poetry Performance of ‘Traders’ – A Celebration of Housing’s Social Purpose

Date & Time: Tue 25-Jun-2024, 15:30 – 16:15

Location: The Fringe Festival Stage

Fans of 90s rave pioneers Orbital, Manchester Utd, or New Order/Factory Records may well be familiar with Manchester-based poet Mike Garry. For those who are not though, now is your chance to witness the poet of the people in the flesh as he performs ‘Traders’ – a powerful piece inspired by his work with the Calico Group. This live performance, featuring video footage of resident voices, reflects on the core purpose and values of housing. It’s a poignant reminder that our work in housing is about more than just policies and budgets; it’s about serving our tenants.

Taking Action to Tackle Stigma in Social Housing

Date & Time: Wed 26-Jun-2024, 09:30 – 10:15

Location: Tenant and Resident Engagement

Social housing stigma is a significant issue, and the synopsis for this session says that the discussion will explore practical tools for landlords to address it locally. That’s great to hear (read?) as the issue of stigma around living in social housing is something that’s becoming increasing problematic for both tenants and social housing providers alike. Those in attendance at this session can expect to earn about research conducted so far, how to implement recommendations from recent reports on social housing stigma and understand and combat the complex experiences of discrimination in the sector.

Closing Keynote: ‘Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son’ – Ending the Injustice of UK Homelessness

Date & Time: Thu 27-Jun-2024, 12:45 – 13:30

Location: The Fringe Festival Stage

Filmmaker Lorna Tucker presents her documentary ‘Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son’, exploring why record numbers of people still live on Britain’s streets. This session, featuring film excerpts and a Q&A, will discuss public policy, effective solutions, and the contributions of those with lived experience of homelessness. It’s an essential discussion for anyone committed to ending homelessness in the UK (and that’s all of us, right?).

Transforming Service Delivery in Social Housing: The Promise and Challenges of AI

Date & Time: Wed 26-Jun-2024, 11:30 – 12:15

Location: Insights Stage at Housing 2024

AI is revolutionising the social housing sector, and here at Mobysoft, we’re at the forefront of it. But what does the advent and increasing adoption of AI  mean for service quality and staff productivity? This panel discussion will delve into how AI can be a pivotal tool for social housing providers. You’ll hear from industry experts on the complexities of AI development, including data quality, model maintenance, and technological integration. The panel will also address the risks associated with AI, ensuring you leave with a clear understanding of both its promise and challenges. Panelists include: Chris Fleck, CTO, Mobysoft (Chair); Ian Pike, Senior Technical Specialist (Data & AI), Microsoft; Ian Kelly, Director of Digital Innovation, Plus Dane; Siobhan Weightman, Board Member, WISH; Dominika Phillips-Blackburn, Head of Product, Mobysoft.

Should you manage to fit all those in the please let us know as we’ll be asking you to accompany us to next year’s Glastonbury as our official ‘clash avoidance advisor’(!). If not, then we urge you to catch as many of the aforementioned as you can as we really do believe that each session is incredibly useful and provides a deeper exploration of some of the most pression issues within social housing, regardless of which corner of the sector your work in.

Of course, we’d strongly advise on taking in all three of Mobysoft’s speaking sessions on the Insights Stage, but if you can only manage the one then the AI-focused session mentioned above is the one we’d plump for – AI is only going to have a greater and greater affect on service delivery, so ensure you’re up to speed right now! Head over to our dedicated event page today to register your interest.

Dean Quinn