“The difference affordable housing can make to someone’s life is huge”
Walton Charity trustee and housing association director, Rob Mills, has spent three decades working in the housing sector. Here he reflects on his experience and why housing is more than a roof over your head.
I became a trustee for Walton Charity at the beginning of 2020, just before we went in to the first lockdown, so nearly all my board meetings have been virtual. The work of the charity is wide ranging, but the support we provide in housing and tackling homelessness is very close to my heart.
I have worked in housing for 30 years and joining Walton Charity feels like coming full circle. Although I started in housing as volunteer project worker in a homeless hostel in Chester, my first paid job was as a housing trainee for Elmbridge Council, before the housing moved to PA Housing. As a young housing officer, I managed properties in Vicarage Fields and Thamesmead in Walton.
I am now a director for a national housing association but that experience of working on the front line and supporting residents in Elmbridge all those years ago has stayed with me ever since.
The difference affordable, safe, and secure housing can make to someone’s life is huge, and it is so much more than just a roof over your head. It is somewhere warm to come home to; it can help with your mental and physical health; it can provide space for children to do their homework; and increasingly it is somewhere to work from. I feel the Covid pandemic has only heightened the importance of housing.