Robina Rafferty, who is head of Housing Justice, has announced her retirement after 30 years in the housing field, including three years as the first Chief Executive of Housing Justice and 16 years prior to that as Director of the Catholic Housing Aid Society (CHAS). Over the course of the30 years Robina has become one of the housing world's most well known figures. Robina joined CHAS as a housing adviser in 1976, was a member of the Archbishop's Commission on Urban Priority Areas which produced the report, Faith in the City, in 1985, and as CHAS Director helped to found the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness and Housing Need in 1989, since when she has acted as its Clerk. After more than a decade successfully leading CHAS, she became the founding Chief Executive of Housing Justice in 2003. In 1998 Robina received an MBE for services to homeless people and in 2002 was awarded the Cross of St Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Dr George Carey. Speaking about her imminent retirement Robina Rafferty said: "It has been a great privilege to work for Housing Justice and its predecessor, CHAS over the last 30 years, and to work closely with church people addressing housing need up and down the country. We have successfully raised the profile of homelessness and bad housing among the public and lawmakers, whilst helping many people in immediate housing need through our network of advice centres. Government action such as the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act and the rough sleepers and bed and breakfast initiatives which came about after pressure from CHAS and other church and homelessness organisations have had a real impact on both reducing homelessness and creating higher standards for hostels and temporary accommodation. "But, sadly there is still much to be done. The record number of families in temporary accommodation, historically low levels of social house building, lack of help for single homeless people, and the one million children living in poor housing must be addressed by government if it truly wants to build sustainable communities. There is a real need for Housing Justice, both to help churches respond even better to the needs of the most marginalised, and also to work alongside those whom they serve, to represent their needs to government and other policy-makers." Chair of Housing Justice. Bishop of Dudley the Right Reverend David Walker, said: "We will be sad to see Robina go because she has contributed so much to Housing Justice and before that CHAS. Without her energy and enthusiasm Housing Justice would not be where it is today. I must also pay tribute to the many ways in which she has contributed to the wider witness of the churches in the field of housing and homelessness, and the many lives she has touched and changed by her wisdom and example. On behalf of Housing Justice's supporters, the churches and other homelessness charities I would like to thank Robina for the contribution she has made and wish her a happy retirement." For more information see: www.housingjustice.org.uk.
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