Getting to know Karen Heaney

January 5th, 2018 in Recruitment

Karen Heaney

Meet Karen Heaney, Home Group’s Director of Regeneration

What does your role involve?

As Director of Regeneration, I have quite a wide remit. I work alongside the Executive Director of Development and the Director of Development and, as a team, we manage Home Group’s development and regeneration schemes at a national level. Our work contributes to our goal of building 10,000 new homes by 2021.

We also support the growth in our New Models of Care supported housing services, by developing or sourcing property including locating sites or regenerating our existing stock to make it fit for purpose to support our new clinical services.

What’s your biggest achievement so far with Home Group?

I think it was in my previous role as Director of Asset Management. We did a lot of work to better understand how our assets perform and to improve commerciality. To support this we conducted a stock condition survey on all our properties in the UK to help us evaluate our homes and look at how we can reduce unnecessary expenditure. With properties in almost every part of the UK, this was a huge task.

However, over a carefully planned and managed period we surveyed all properties and were able to generate £55 million in savings that can be invested into the homes and services that need it the most.

What’s your ambition for Home Group and how will you influence it?

I’m really excited about delivering our strategy and the opportunity to be involved in new ways of thinking about housing and new ways of providing good quality housing for our customers. Next year we’ll be at the Innovation Village in Gateshead, showcasing a range of modular housing and how it can support the supply and demand for housing in the UK.

We’re also looking at technology, and how we can incorporate new tech into future builds. We’re also working with the London School of Economics, measuring how we can improve people’s lives through the regeneration of housing, and the findings will help us continue to make a strong case to Government.

What does a home mean to you?

A home is far more than bricks and mortar. It’s how it makes you feel, if it makes you content or happy. It’s very much unique to each person, a city-dweller might prefer vibrancy whereas someone in a rural area might want a relaxed environment.

A home is an environment that supports your emotional wellbeing, somewhere you can spend time with family and friends, with spaces to enjoy doing the things you love – whether that be cooking, gardening, playing or listening to music, or watching a good film on TV.

What are you most excited about in terms of future housing developments and/or design?

The housing sector is starting to move away from its traditional ways of working. As a result, we need to be bolder in terms of creativity. How can we improve? How can we reflect people’s needs? I’m excited that Home Group can lead this change in the sector, and that we can be the one to provide the answers.

At Home Group, we dare to be different. Our showcase at the Innovation Village is just one example of how we’re trying to push the envelope. We take managed and controlled risks, and we’re not frightened to learn.

Why Home Group?

I like the people, and the ambition. As a national organisation that pushes for change, we can be at the forefront of some big developments in the sector.

Our lobbying can make a real difference to the people we represent – for example our contribution to the campaign against the changes to Local Housing Allowance helped reverse the government’s plan to cap social housing providers.

This was a result of a year of hard work from all of our teams, and it was great to play a part in that.

Plus, we really enjoy working and socialising together, my colleagues are like my second family!