“None so deaf as those who will not hear”

Housing Association Riverside`s runaround and doing right thing

A Carlilse councillor who made a phone call to Riverside Housing Association said the runaround he got from that Liverpool organisation reminded him of the phrase “none so deaf as those who will not hear”.

The councillor said he made the call on behalf of a constituent and was initially forced to spend three quarters of an hour waiting on the phone in a queueing system. Then he got through to a call centre in Liverpool. The person there didn`t understand what was needed.

The councillor`s story is typical of hundreds of other abortive approaches made to Riverside every day by its tenants and councillors and others.

“Riverside just don`t want ro know about their tenants` problems and seem to put up every barrier possible in the way,” the councillor said.

In the 20 years since Riverside took over the 6,000 Carlisle council houses the city Tenants` and Residents`Federation has helped dozens of Riverside tenants complaining about this sort of runaround.

Experience like this has led to the conclusion that Riverside is accountable to no one but itself.

This week Gavin Smart(below), chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing urged housing associations to “do the right thing” He said in an article in the social housing magazine Inside Housing: “That idea of doing the right thing should shape how we respond to the Social Housing White Paper and be at the core of the relationship between landlord and tenant.”

“Too often when tenants feel they have been failed by their landlords, they also feel they have been ignored or are not respected, that their landlord is unaccountable or opaque in its decision-making.”

“Whether this is the perception or the reality is almost incidental. The very fact that this is a view held by a proportion of people we exist to work with should act as a driver for improvement, a desire to strive to be better”.

Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation publishes this blog. Information about the Federation is available on 01228 52227

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