Sunderland City Council has expanded its housing team to help it meet its priorities of engaging with tenants and strengthening its social housing offer.

Michelle Green and Phil Auton have joined the team to ensure the council is geared up to deliver for customers, after it returned to providing social housing after a 20 year hiatus, as part of its Housing Delivery and Investment Plan (HDIP).

Michelle and Phil will lead the management of the council’s housing stock, including ensuring it maintains high-quality social housing and excellent customer service; developing, implementing and reviewing processes, procedures and systems and assisting in the development of homes to meet current and emerging needs.  They will work closely with customers and tenants  to maintain a customer-focus, taking on board their feedback to shape service-delivery and support.

Michelle has more than 20 years’ experience in Social Housing. Her early career was in housing operations and for the past seven years she held a senior position in property maintenance.  Michelle’s expertise is focussed on delivering an excellent front line housing management service.

Phil has more than 12 years’ experience of working within the housing sector. He has a vast amount of experience leading operational tenancy management functions such as anti-social behaviour, rent arrears, tenancy sustainment and customer engagement.

Phil, who is Housing Operations Manager , said: “I’m delighted to have joined Sunderland City Council’s housing team and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and ensuring our customers  are getting the best experience possible.”

Michelle, who joins as housing operations manager, said: “I am passionate about people and housing and would like to increase involvement and engagement of Sunderland Council housing tenants to ensure their voice is truly heard. I want to lead and develop my team to ensure they deliver a first class housing service to tenants.”

The Council’s HDIP – launched in 2020 – is refocussing delivery to ensure it provides more homes for vulnerable and older residents, after a review of the city’s housing requirements showed this as a specific area of need.

It has got off to a successful start, with over 70  properties now rented out across the city.  Many of the council’s tenancies are with older people and vulnerable residents and there is a keen focus on developing more one-story homes and supported accommodation.

The council – as part of the HDIP – has also delivered specific supported accommodation for people at risk of homelessness or domestic abuse survivors.  It has engaged with the  Governments  Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP), which has  delivered six one-bed homes of  supported accommodation to help people at risk of homelessness as well as the Sanctuary Dispersed Accommodation Project, which has delivered properties for use as accommodation for those surviving domestic abuse.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member, said: “I’m delighted Michelle and Phil have joined the housing team and I’m sure they’ll make a big contribution.

“The HDIP is about understanding the unmet housing needs that exist in the city and ensuring we deliver against them.  It’s about creating homes that allow people to have a brighter future.”