GERALDINE Howley, the chief executive of Bradford-based Incommunities, has been confirmed as the chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) governing board.
Howley has been serving as chair in an interim capacity since April 2018 but following her ratification by members – with over 97% of respondents voting in favour – her appointment has become permanent.
“I am delighted to have been elected as the new chair and humbled by the support shown by CIH members,” Howley said. “I look forward to taking up this important new role, having been a proud member of CIH for many years. These are challenging times for the sector but also exciting ones, and I look forward to being part of its continuing journey.”
Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the CIH, added: “It’s great that Geraldine has been confirmed as our permanent chair, and with such strong support. She’s already made a huge contribution to CIH as interim chair, and I look forward to continuing to work with her. Geraldine is a major player in UK housing, and we’re lucky to have her experience and insight at the head of our governing board.”
Jim Strang, CIH president, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the appointment of Geraldine Howley as chair of the CIH; she will continue to provide strong leadership for the future.”
Howley, who was CIH president in 2015/16, has come a long way over the course of her more than 35-year housing career. She started out as a temporary receptionist with Bradford Council before progressing to become the local authority’s director of housing.
Following stock transfer of 26,000 council homes in February 2003 she then became chief executive of Incommunities (or Bradford Community Housing Trust as it was then known). Since then, she has become a leading industry figure at local, national and international levels.
Howley is a chartered surveyor, as well as being a fellow of the CIH, and in 2017 she was awarded an OBE for her services to housing, young people and the local community. She is also a doctor of the University of Bradford for her contribution to housing across the metropolitan district.
She also holds several key positions, including chair of Housing Partnership UK, member of the Bradford District Health & Wellbeing Board and is a Council Member of the CBI, Yorkshire & Humber.
What’s more, Howley is a co-founder of GEM, a professional development programme that is credited with helping over 250 graduates across the UK develop their careers, mainly in housing, over the past decade.