A modern social housing organisation has every interest in optimizing its communication with residents and having residents participate in the functioning of the organisation and the neighbourhood. Partnering with Genscom, De Ideale Woning is now able to put its communication plans and ideas into practice. A collaboration with numerous positive effects: 1. Residents who feel involved tend to assume more responsibility and take better care of their (immediate) surroundings. 2. The organisation gets a better feel for residents’ needs and requirements. 3. The two parties invigorate each other and the neighbourhood. The atmosphere is positive, there is mutual respect and agreements (e.g. paying the rent, care for the buildings, etc.) are better respected. The organisation invests in communication with the neighbourhood and residential participation. The residents invest time in themselves, their fellow-residents and their relationship with society. SHO De Ideale Woning manages about 5,300 (rental) housing units in Antwerp and the surrounding municipalities. Moreover, social housing organisations are also encouraged by the review committee to establish proper communication lines with their residents.
Connecting with various social housing organisations, Genscom tried to figure out what good communication means to them. Two concepts turned out to be crucial: proximity and commitment. Proximity: in order for residents to actually read the organisation’s magazine, it should crucially contain information about the neighbourhood they live in. Which is why we decided not to make one magazine, but several, broken down by municipality. This way, everybody gets updates on their town and neighbourhood on top of the organisation’s more general news. Commitment: in its first issue, De Ideale Woning announced it was looking for people who would like to receive training as a reporter. The appeal proved successful, with more than 15 people registering for this course, organised in collaboration with Vorming Plus. These reporters will take to the streets soon and chronicle the neighbourhood news in the residents’ paper themselves.
Many editors are contributing to the local editions already. The organisation prepares its own texts or complements these local editions. Yet the SHO also maintains control by monitoring all the texts and layout before giving final approval. This enables the communication style and strategy to retain its own, proper identity throughout each publication.
Several social housing organisations have already found the way to Genscom. This has prompted Genscom to maintain a library of great articles on social housing. There’s no need to keep reinventing the wheel when other organisations have already written suitable texts on certain subjects.
In addition to writing texts, the search for suitable pictures and icons can also prove time-consuming for the SHO’s. Genscom developed an image bank containing pictures and icons relevant to popular issues. This helps the organisations to quickly compile a publication which is relevant to its readers and guaranteed to increase involvement.