Tuesday 26th March 2019
"There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home"
Few would disagree with this profound quote by Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States of America. I had the pleasure of meeting Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter when I was working on a building site in the Philippines in 1999, helping local families to build their own homes as part of the Habitat for Humanity Project. At that time I was part way through a year teaching in Japan. Little did I know then that buildings – and their significance to people - would become a recurring aspect of my life.
I graduated from university in 1998 with a Masters in Politics and my interest in how groups of people choose to organise themselves has always - and continues - to fascinate me. It is probably one of the main reasons I now work for Civitas.
Prior to joining Civitas, I worked in private practice for Capsticks, a niche firm specialising in healthcare as a real estate lawyer for over 10 years. I acted for a number of NHS Trusts, private providers and charities on a variety of healthcare facilities from developing new-build radiotherapy centres to residential accommodation for NHS staff.
In 2017 I decided it was time for change and was clear I wanted to continue my career towards delivering positive social outcomes, whilst expanding my role beyond being a legal advisor.
Civitas was the first social housing real estate investment trust (REIT) to launch on the London Stock Exchange in November 2016. We specialise in providing social housing which includes homes for people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions within existing communities, who usually require specialist property adaptations and intensive care and support.
My role is to identify, initiate and manage the qcquistion process of suitable properties for the fund. When I first joined Civitas, it had around 100 properties. I am proud to say that as part of a fantastic team we have now acquired more than 565 properties across England and Wales which, provide a secure home to more than 3,750 people.
Civitas has allowed me to work for an organisation which is focussed on bringing the public and private sectors together to try new ways of meeting the shortage of housing (whilst providing a financial return to our shareholders).
As a team, our focus is on increasing the availability and quality of social housing whilst delivering value for money to the public purse. To meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people, we take a multi-disciplinary approach, working closely with our housing association partners, care providers and developers to achieve this.
I have seen first-hand how essential it is to a person’s wellbeing to be housed in suitable accommodation and I am proud to be part of Civitas, an organisation committed to providing the right housing and making a difference to people’s lives.
*Civitas Housing Advisors is the investment advisor to Civitas Social Housing PLC