Good Sort: Liz Kemp
“I enjoy working with people, seeing the improvement in tenants lives as well as their homes. I realise how important it is for people to have a stable, safe and well maintained home and how this contributes to their wellbeing in other aspects of their lives” – Liz Kemp
Liz is the Housing Officer for Wellington-based Dwell Housing Trust. Her role is about more than simply managing houses though, it’s focused on delivering and developing quality housing services and homes for the people of Wellington to flourish.
Liz is also a Do Good Jobs success story (yah!).
“I was recruited into my role at Dwell after I saw the advertisement on Do Good Jobs. It’s great to see community-minded and charitable job roles in one place” says Liz.
She has been working for Dwell Housing Trust for over 18 months, but has working in social housing since 2006, firstly in the UK and continued this focus when she moved to New Zealand in 2011. Her first role in New Zealand was working at City Housing, a part of the Wellington City Council. Liz was keen to work in a community-based organisation and this is what attracted her to the role at Dwell Housing Trust.
Can you tell us a bit about what Dwell Housing Trust does?
We provide a range of housing services including supportive housing for people experiencing mental illness, group living for single people, general needs social rental housing and a shared home ownership programme for first home buyers.
We manage approximately 85 tenancies and provide homes for about 185 people in the Wellington region.
Our vision is to provide affordable quality homes where people flourish.
Our mission is to be the leading provider and partner of community housing in the Wellington region by providing affordable, appropriate, quality community housing. We work with other agencies to enable our people to grow and to ensure the efficient and effective use of our combined resources.
Dwell Housing Trust works with people in ways that are inclusive, participatory and uphold human rights. We also have a strong voice on policy and other issues that affect the provision of community housing.
Can you try to summarise what you do (or what your day looks like) as the Housing Officer of Dwell Housing Trust?
My role is all about working with people. My main role is to allocate affordable homes to people in housing need, manage re-lets, ensuring vacant homes are let as soon as possible, and to a standard that meets tenant’s and Dwell’s needs.
Another aspect of my role includes managing tenancies, including conducting regular property inspections. I work with tenants to address any housing related issues, improving the condition of their home and rent or wellbeing issues. I also arrange repairs and maintenance.
There are days that are challenging and it can feel like you have many balls in the air at once. No two days are the same, things can change at any time. Tenants may have emergency repairs or need support that I need to attend to, but I love the challenge and the variety.
Relationship building and engagement with tenants and their support agencies is key to sustaining tenancies.
Communications is another important part of my job including updating Facebook and the Dwell Housing Trust website.
What do you love about working at Dwell Housing Trust?
I love working with a close-knit and supportive team. I enjoy getting to know all the tenants. We visit our tenants at least twice when we need to, to see how they are doing and check the house as well.
I’m excited to be involved and to be part of Dwell Housing Trust growing and providing more housing for those in need.
2017 is going to be a busy year for Dwell as there are several great opportunities that will hopefully mean we can provide more housing to those in need. We are excited to have resource consent to build 14 new homes and we hope to see construction start this year. There is a shortage of affordable housing in Wellington and we need to be providing more homes, to do this we need more support from the Wellington community. Anyone interested should follow us on Facebook.
Have you made a big change or career pivot to get where you are now?
I stumbled on a career in social housing by accident. I finished University in 2006 and was looking for a new challenge. My friend, a Recruitment Consultant put me forward for a role at in the property team at LHA-ASRA (www.asra.org.uk).
What initially started as a first job out of University quickly became a passion. I worked in the planned maintenance team and our work involved improving homes. This included adaptation for disabled tenants, kitchen upgrades and checking the safety of their gas appliances.
I enjoyed working with people, seeing the improvement in tenants lives as well as their homes. I realised how important it was for people to have a stable, safe and well maintained home and how this contributed to their wellbeing in other aspects of their lives.
Since then I have worked in a number of roles within social housing: rent and budgeting assistance, tenancy management and facilities management. Housing is so important.
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