CIH is already working closely with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to produce good practice guidance on seven areas of diversity including age, gender, religion or belief, disability, sexuality and transgender.
In 2008, CIH became a Stonewall Diversity Champion – the organisation which campaigns on behalf of the lesbian, gay men and bisexual (LGB) community.
Over the next 12 months CIH will be looking at ways in which it can meet the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual members and to raise awareness of the housing challenges facing the estimated 3.6 million LGB people living in the UK.
Stonewall research already suggests one in five lesbian, gay men and bisexual people expect to be treated less favourably when applying for social housing and a similar number are the victims of "hate crimes", undermining community cohesion.
In recent years CIH has made significant progress on some of the major strands of equality and diversity, including widening its appeal to Black and Minority Ethnic Groups. More than 17% of CIH members in England come from minority backgrounds (14%across the UK).
Women also play a leading role in the housing profession, constituting 58% of CIH’s 22,000 worldwide membership.
David Shields, Director of Workplace Programmes at Stonewall said: "We welcome CIH’s support to look at the challenges facing LGB people in the housing sector and helping to raise awareness of these issues. Their support for our workplace conference in March is an ideal starting point for the housing sector to look at best practice in LGB workplace inclusiveness.
"The conference brings together organisations across the private, public and third sectors, features high-profile keynote speakers and break-out sessions reflecting the innovation we see from the best employers."
John Thornhill, Senior Policy Practice Officer at CIH and liaison officer with Stonewall said: "As a progressive professional body CIH is committed to playing a leading role in creating a more diverse housing workforce. Raising awareness of the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual people working in housing and making use of housing services is a key part of CIH’s commitment to equality and diversity. CIH will be working with Stonewall to ensure the housing profession is open to lesbian, gay and bisexual people. This will build the reputation of CIH in the sector as an organisation open to all and closed to prejudice."
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