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Youth Voice in Housing Associations

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“How do young people take leadership roles in influencing strategy and decision-making in Housing Associations and impact local housing services?” 

Young people are generally in a difficult position to buy, to rent or to have access to housing. Also, young residents are often not tenants or leaseholders, which could result in the fact that young people are not written into housing policy or within wider strategies of housing associations.  

 

Partnership for Young London has partnered up with three major housing associations: Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH), Hyde Housing, and Clarion Housing, by setting up a peer research team to gain a better understanding of how young residents would like to influence their housing situation and how to increase youth leadership within Housing Associations (HAs).  

 

This project builds on previous reports and research outlining the issues that young people face in relation to housing, such as how insecurity about their housing futures might affect their life decisions, well-being and aspirations, as well as how youth voice is currently underrepresented in decision-making. We aim to contribute to this work by identifying opportunities for integrated youth voice and leadership influencing multiple levels of policy and practice across housing associations. 

The Team

“We are a group of young people who are passionate about housing and young residents’ voices. We are advocates for change and want to see better housing for young residents and better youth involvement in housing.”

 

Our team of 6 researchers, Cindy, Theresa, Kara, Ruman, Tri and Malaka are young Londoners aged 16-24 with different lived experiences and connections to this project, all sharing an interest and passion for research and improving youth voice in housing. 

 

"Growing up in a housing association in London and experiencing the difficulties in getting on the housing ladder made me curious as to what I could do to improve the conditions and the housing crisis. The opportunity to conduct peer research on housing associations provides an exciting and important platform to inform better housing options, especially for other young people.”

(Cindy Boa, Peer Researcher & Clarion resident)

The team is working with Partnership for Young London to design and carry out the research project while collaborating closely with a steering group consisting of leads in Housing Associations and more broadly with staff and stakeholders within the housing sector.

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The Approach

Peer research as an approach 

In essence, peer research is research that is steered and conducted by people with lived experience of the issue being studied. In peer research, those in the researched group (in this case young people and young residents) “adopt the role of the researcher and are empowered to participate in research by minimizing power imbalances between researchers and participants, contributing to reducing bias and promoting improve understanding.”

 

Within this project, the research team is set up to co-produce this project in every aspect; in the design of the aims, design of the research methods, carrying out interviews and focus groups, analysing data, design the outcomes and in decision-making in general. This is done through workshops and peer research training to allow for collaboration and informed decision-making. 

 

Resources and practices of peer research:

1) Involving Young Londoners: a toolkit for peer research 

2) Young Londoners Research Programme

3) Authoring Our Own Stories

Timeline

The journey so far

  • Recruitment and establishment of peer research team

  • Desk-based research into housing policy and housing associations

  • Workshops in:

    • Introduction to peer research and designing research aims and context​

    • introduction to quantitative and qualitative research and designing research methods

    • Stakeholder engagement 

  • Hold interviews with Chief Executive Officers of Housing Assocations

  • Hold interviews with various staff within Housing Associations, such as:

    • regeneration officers​

    • customer voice leads

    • strategic partnership and community investment leads

    • specific teams in policy 

  • Analysis of staff interviews to feed into research

  • Design survey for young residents

The journey forward

  • Collect qualitative and quantitative data 

  • Engage relevant stakeholders

  • Analyse collected data with young residents

  • Write up key findings and recommendations

  • Design and plan next steps for dissemination and feeding back to housing assocations

Timeline

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Contact Us

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Sharon Long

Director

sharon.long@cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

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Iris Bos

Youth Research Officer

Iris.Bos@cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

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