Warwickshire new homes provider celebrates inspiring employee for homelessness reduction work

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A housing association providing Shared Ownership homes across Warwickshire is celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day (March 8) by shining a light on one of its inspirational employees, with the aim of encouraging more women to consider a career in the housing industry.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that while as of Q2 in 2023 women made up the highest proportion of construction workforces across the UK, the percentage was still as low as 15.8 per cent.

At Bromford, emphasis is placed on the communities that are served through the development of new homes, with a particular focus on reducing homelessness.

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Head of homelessness and community investment, Hazel O’Halloran, from Cheltenham, for whom the reality of homelessness is particularly pertinent having lived through the experience herself.

Hazel O’Halloran is Bromford’s head of homelessness and community investment.Hazel O’Halloran is Bromford’s head of homelessness and community investment.
Hazel O’Halloran is Bromford’s head of homelessness and community investment.

Hazel said: “I fled a domestic abuse relationship when I was younger and ended up homeless, while working in the homelessness sector.

“This has been a key driver to ensuring I can make a difference so others may not have to experience this, or at least know where to seek out support.

“I see it as a privilege to be able to bring together personal and professional experiences, and to be able to channel my lived experience into making a positive difference is rewarding.”

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Hazel is a key asset to Bromford’s reducing homelessness programme, advocating for social justice and inclusivity, while leading on important topics such as safeguarding, domestic abuse, community investment, and cost of living.

Working across a variety of Bromford teams, Hazel’s impact at head of homelessness and community investment is keenly felt across the business and the communities it serves.

Hazel added: “I’m incredibly proud of the work I’m able to achieve with the support of Bromford, be that implementing new key initiatives to protect the most vulnerable in society, striving for greater equality, diversity and inclusion across the board or challenging the unfair stigma around homelessness.

“As a child I was brought up in a compassionate household, and these values have stuck with me throughout my personal and professional life – I would always talk and listen to homeless people and feel compassion for their situation.

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“To now be in a role where I’m working in partnership with others to ensure appropriate provisions are embedded in our communities to reduce and prevent homelessness, and improve people’s life situations makes me genuinely proud.”

Hazel added that one of the key elements of her job is understanding the root causes of homelessness, and to raise awareness that not all homeless people are rough sleeping, with many hidden homeless living in our communities, in overcrowded housing, temporary accommodation, or living from sofa to sofa.

With over 150,000 children in temporary accommodation, Hazel highlighted the value that a career in the housing industry and specifically homelessness can bring.

Hazel concluded: “This is a really underrated industry, with the breadth of opportunities available being something many may not consider.

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“Like many housing professionals, I did fall into this career, but I have never looked back, I can really make a lasting difference, operating in a space that allows me to be creative.

“I had always wanted to work for Bromford, who had a strong reputation and shared the values that I held. To now be working for such an inclusive company with incredible female leaders, who promote important women’s causes and implement appropriate policies and a supportive environment means I truly feel valued."

This year, the theme is Let’s Inspire Inclusion. To find out more, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme.