Q: Tell us a little bit about your business background before you joined jLiving.
A: I worked in IT as a consultant for 46 years.
Q: What attracted you to become a board member at jLiving?
A: I responded to an advert placed by jLiving. They were looking for someone with IT experience to shepherd them through several projects. I applied because I felt I could bring my experience and knowledge to jLiving and was interested in the principles that jLiving represented.
Q: How long have you been involved with the association?
A: Four years.
Q: What do you feel you bring to the role of board member/finance and audit subcommittee member?
A: At the start of my association with jLiving, I was only able to bring my IT experience to the table. However, once I got up to speed with jLiving’s raison d’etre, I felt more comfortable with contributing in other areas, most notably, establishing charitable donations and taking up my responsibilities for one of the property schemes.
Q: What positive changes have you made at the association since becoming a board member?
A: I believe that I have helped shape the various IT projects that jLiving wanted to accomplish for example, the search for a replacement Housing Management System, replacement website and Windows 10 upgrade for in-house and remote computers plus the servers.
Q: Did you always have a particular interest in social housing and if so, what is the background to that?
A: No, my interest was only sparked once I joined jLiving. I have no previous experience in social housing.
Q: Do you think there are issues or challenges in providing good quality social housing and what are they?
A: At jLiving, our challenges are ongoing, in the sense that we are constantly trying to meet or exceed standards for our property schemes, both environmentally and maintainability.
Q: What do you think are the biggest hurdles facing housing associations right now?
A: As I write this, the cost-of-living crisis is just taking hold, with much worse to come. I believe this will create a deluge of applications from those unable to meet the higher rents being charged by commercial landlords. We, of course, have to hold rents to levels determined by Government, even though our own costs will inevitably rise with the rate of inflation. We, together with Government and other Housing Associations, will have to find innovative ways of combating this double whammy.
Q: What are your hopes and goals for jLiving for the next 5-10 years?
A: We differ from most housing associations; in that we primarily cater for housing need within the Jewish community rather than for those living in a specific geographical region. This is a shifting landscape as the Jewish population moves continuously to new demographic locations, over time. Our aim is to try and keep up with this migration and provide social housing in the areas that Jews settle in.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that no-one would know!
A: I have been involved in Jewish Radio as a co-owner, a presenter and producer.