Simon Brooke was a longstanding advocate of social and affordable housing in Ireland. His passion for the sector and for the provision of high-quality, affordable, secure homes for individuals and families across the country was borne out in his work over many decades. Simon worked in the housing and homelessness sector in the UK from the 1970s and in Ireland from the 1990s. This included a major campaign to improve the housing conditions of hundreds of Vietnamese asylum-seekers in London in the mid-1980s and, in 2008, an important evaluation of homeless services in Ireland with the Homeless Agency.
In 1998, Simon joined Clúid Housing, Ireland’s largest Approved Housing Body (AHB), as a board member before becoming Head of Policy in 2012. Simon played a proactive role in developing the AHB sector in Ireland, setting out a clear reform agenda in his 2001 Blue Paper ‘Social Housing for the Future: Can housing associations meet the challenge?’ for the Policy Institute at Trinity College, Dublin.
In his work with Clúid, he became known as a passionate champion of social housing and those living in social housing, and managed a range of important research projects, relating to stigma in social housing, housing for older people, fuel poverty and, most recently, the management of multi-unit housing developments. Importantly, this work had a tangible influence on the development of Irish housing policy, and will have lasting impacts.
Up until his untimely death in November 2019, Simon worked tirelessly to break the stigmas attached to social housing and to ensure that everyone in Ireland had a great place to live.
Simon was also a passionate supporter of exchange of best practice and policy internationally and was closely engaged with the European Federation for Living (EFL), an international network of housing associations and academic institutions, based in The Netherlands. It is on this basis that the ‘Simon Brooke Award’ will offer the opportunity to a housing practitioner from either an AHB or a Local Authority in any location in Ireland to travel abroad to learn about the social and affordable housing sector internationally. Specifically, the awardee should undertake a focused study of a specific area of housing policy or practice in another jurisdiction, with potential application to improve social housing in Ireland.
In this, the inaugural awarding of the ‘Simon Brooke Award’, the awardee will spend a week meeting with international housing experts and fellow housing practitioners in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This will be organised by Clúid Housing and facilitated by Gerard van Bortel, Assistant Professor of Housing Management at Delft University of Technology.
The application process for the award requires submission of a 2,000-word essay on the importance of international exchange of best practice and policy in social and affordable housing, identifying a specific area of policy or practice where the applicant expects to identify relevant learning for social housing in Ireland. The award will be officially presented on the day of the inaugural Simon Brooke Public Lecture, taking place on March 11th, 2021 in Woodquay, Dublin City Council.
Applicants should submit an essay of no more than 2,000 words on the topic set out above. Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org , with ‘Simon Brooke Award submission’ in the subject line, no later than 5 p.m., October 16th, 2020.