Q: Tell us a little bit about your business background before you joined jLiving.
A: Post completing my MBA from London Business School in 2006, I transitioned from a career in IT to banking, working in Private Wealth Management for a number of large institutions (including Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse). In 2016, I joined Salutem Healthcare as a founding Director where over a number of years we acquired several portfolios of care home groups in the learning disability sector. I joined jLiving during this period.
Q: What attracted you to become a board member at jLiving?
A: As an active member of the London Jewish community, I wanted to find a way to contribute meaningfully. It was a perfect opportunity to be able to contribute my care sector knowledge and financial skills for the benefit of those who are more vulnerable in our community.
Q: How long have you been involved with the association?
A: I joined the association in June 2018.
Q: What do you feel you bring to the role of board member/finance and audit subcommittee member?
A: As a finance professional, my skills are complementary to the requirements of the finance committee where financial oversight is key. With experience in the care sector and retirement living development, I am qualified to provide input on development opportunities and strategy in addition to how best to leverage the existing portfolio in order to create more homes.
Q: What positive changes have you made at the Association since becoming a board member?
A: Our progress has been slow and perhaps less ambitious than what I had hoped for. However, this period has seen many challenges as my term started just after Grenfell and the organisation has rightly had to focus on safety improvements in parallel with existing asset repairs. I am pleased to have been part of the finance committee that highlighted a requirement to upgrade the IT infrastructure, which will ideally set the organisation up for more efficient management in the long run.
Q: Did you always have a particular interest in social housing and if so, what is the background to that?
A: Honestly no. I knew little about social housing prior to joining the Board. However, my years at Salutem where we ran care homes for adults with learning disabilities gave me an insight into how crucial residential housing is for those that can’t afford/ support / take care of themselves is and drove home to me the importance of ensuring that every individual should have a home in a safe environment irrespective of who they are or their ability to afford it.
Q: Do you think there are issues or challenges in providing good quality social housing and what are they?
A: Yes. The challenges are multi-fold. We are all frustrated by housing shortages, it’s a challenge to source new assets, where to buy and build as you are competing against private developers and accessing affordable housing projects is highly competitive. Most organisations suffer from ageing assets, but to update and improve existing assets requires capital expenditure that does not always exist and can require residents to move while works are carried out. Without room surplus this is problematic. As a non-profit, jLiving receives no charitable support and therefore relies on cash reserves to carry out work: if we cannot charge rent for a period while works are carried out, this can have an impact on finances with the added challenge of re-homing residents.
Q: What do you think are the biggest hurdles facing housing associations right now?
A: Lack of housing stock alongside a growing need of individuals / families requiring homes.
Q: What are your hopes and goals for jLiving for the next 5-10 years?
A: That we can grow our portfolio of homes for those in need in our community, in the relevant areas where our community resides.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that no-one would know!
A: I love watching sport. I will literally watch anything that’s on as my relaxation. I am a Spurs supporter and season ticket holder and go to most home games with my daughter.