An eye on RHPi | Owning our future: the RHP story

26th September 2016

At the National Housing Federation annual conference this week, the NHF’s Chief Executive David Orr shared a compelling film that tells the housing sector’s story as part of the #OwningOurFuture campaign – designed to raise the profile of the important work we do, build the relationships we need and deliver substance.

It’s a story that RHP’s proud to be part of. And I agree with the NHF that it’s a narrative that needs to be shared beyond the sector.

Of course I could write a whole report on how we’re ‘owning our future’, but for now, I thought I’d give you the abridged one pager…with a little help from the NHF’s story:

"Housing associations are united by a single purpose – to ensure everyone in the country can live in a quality home that they can afford”

In everything we do we balance quality and affordability. We call the homes we offer through RHPi ‘fit for five’ as they’re exactly that – made fit for at least five years so very little is expected to go wrong with them in that timeframe. Something I’m confident very few private rentals could boast.

In our new developments there is no difference between the quality of those that are for affordable rent and those properties that are for sale – to us there should be no difference and there isn’t.

"We meet shifting housing needs by building more homes, by providing extra support when it’s needed and by innovating to tackle the challenges people face”

We’re building homes yes – in fact as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we’re planning to invest £250M in providing more affordable homes over the next eight years. But we’re doing this whilst thinking about meeting a range of needs whether that’s to rent or buy. We’re always looking for the most innovative construction methods – our latest project being around micro homes to help those who are in the intermediate market find a place to live (e.g. the increasing group of people who don’t qualify for social housing but can’t afford to rent or buy privately).  More on that soon – it’s exciting stuff.

In terms of support we avoid a paternalistic approach and have moved more towards ‘a deal’. For example as part of RHPi if someone is a responsible tenant and neighbour and are ready to move on at the end of their five year fixed term tenancy they’ll get £1,000 cash-back – a helping hand for their next step.

And sure for those who need help getting online or looking for work we’re here with easily accessible support.

"In changing times, we deliver where the private sector won't and the public sector can't. We generate income which doesn’t go to shareholders so we can reinvest all our profits in homes and communities”

Our simple operating model has three key aims:

1. Maintain our strong financial strength with one of the highest credit ratings in the sector

2. Reduce the cost of our property costs and management (through RHPi our aim is to reduce our cost per unit by 15%)

3. Use the savings to invest in building more homes

In short, I echo and fully support the closing statement from the film:

"If you share our sense of purpose, we want to work with you. If you want to end the housing crisis, you need to work with us."

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


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