Sector Overview

Housing organisations play a crucial role in supporting diverse communities across the country. They range in size, from small local providers to large national companies, and provide some exciting opportunities to develop skills in a varied and fast-paced environment.

Many housing providers have thriving LGBT staff networks and there’s a strong national LGBT housing network, HouseProud, with branches in London and the North. Some providers are leading the way by developing LGBT tenants’ groups to ensure they’re also improving the experience of their LGBT residents.

The housing sector provides opportunities to be involved in a broad range of projects and programmes, and the chance to work with diverse communities in a rewarding and supportive environment.

What staff in the sector told us
“The workplace culture in my organisation is inclusive of trans people” – 71% of LGBT employees said yes
“I would feel comfortable disclosing my sexual orientation to my colleagues” – 59% of LGB employees said yes
“Senior managers in my organisation demonstrate visible commitment to trans equality” – 68% of LGBT employees said yes
“If I was a victim of homophobic and biphobic bullying and harassment, I would feel confident in reporting it to my employer” – 90% of LGB employees said yes

2018 Workplace Equality Index statistics

81% of organisations have formal programmes for supporting non-LGBT employees to become active allies
75% of organisations provide guidance for managers on how to support an employee who’s transitioning
81% of organisations’ network groups organise social events for their members

In Focus

Images by Gareth Jones

Cris McGuinness, Chief Financial Officer, The Riverside Group

How did you come to work in the housing sector?

I started my career twenty years ago in a large accountancy practice where it wasn’t ok to be gay. I quickly realised I wanted a job with a social purpose, where I could be myself. I now have my dream job in social housing, as Chief Financial Officer for the Riverside Group. I’m responsible for all finance, development and commercial matters and I’m a member of the Executive Team.

What’s it like being LGBT at the Riverside Group?

It’s a great place for anyone to work – we recognise and celebrate diversity, knowing that it brings strength to the organisation. And the equality and diversity agenda is as much about our customers as it is our staff. I’m involved in Spectrum, our LGBT network. It’s supported by LGBT colleagues and by a wide network of allies. I think it’s especially important for me, as a senior leader, to be visible and supportive of colleagues.

At work, how do you think being LGBT relates to other parts of your identity?

In many ways, being a lesbian is a smaller part of my identity now than when I was younger. I’ve been with my wife for nearly twenty years and we’ve got three children, so my life is filled with being a parent and my career. Being a visible role model at Riverside has let my lesbian identity play a more significant part in my life.

What advice would you give to an LGBT person thinking about a career in housing?
Housing is a good place to be LGBT. I believe I’m very lucky – I love what I do and am immensely proud of who I work for. That means that my career doesn’t really feel like work. My advice would be to find something you love to do and be true to your authentic self.