In Tai Pawb’s survey of more than 830 Welsh housing workers, one in nine people of color said they had experienced racism or xenophobia from colleagues in the previous three years, compared to one white European in 14 and one in 100 white Britons.

He revealed that fewer people of color felt able to “express contrary opinions and speak out” at work, and fewer people of color and white Europeans felt respected and valued by their teammates – even though almost all respondents said racial equality and diversity were important to them.

While only 3% of white British colleagues thought the accessibility of their organization’s services for people from ethnic minorities was bad or very bad, 16% of people of color felt this way.

Some examples of what a transformation of service delivery might look like come from Taff’s other recent work against racism. The association analyzed its data and found that black, Asian and ethnic minority tenants were more likely to have rent arrears. (The owner is currently analyzing these results in more detail to understand why and what he could do to change this situation.)

Another example is Taff’s development program. Black, Asian, and ethnic minority renters are more likely to be overcrowded.

“Our housing system is not responding to that right now. In Cardiff, the push is for [building] small properties. But a lot of our community is telling us, no, we need big family homes, because we are big families,” says Ms. White. “And, of course, they are more expensive to develop, harder to find land. So we could go for the easy wins, which would be 50 one-bed apartments, but really what we need are 15 five-bed houses. It’s difficult, in terms of political advocacy for some of that.

“You couldn’t get away from the fact that as a leadership team and as a board, and the makeup of our colleagues in general, it didn’t fit the communities we work in, and that was a big problem for us.”

Mr Segulle adds: ‘I grew up in a home of 11 siblings and my mum, and we lived in a four-bedroom house in Manchester. So I know what overcrowding looks like. But we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. You have intergenerational people living in the same house, and someone will have COVID-19, and there’s no way for them to self-isolate. The whole family is exposed to it. They catch it, and because they work on the front line, they don’t have the luxury of working from home [and] few hold leadership positions. So they have to keep working.

Knowledge and understanding within the board could change a housing association’s priorities and strategy, which could have a significant impact.

Another important goal is that potential board members have access to new opportunities to use their expertise. Naveeda Morgan is CCHA’s Chief Finance Officer and sits on the Pathway to Board Board of Directors. She has also served on the board of the Welsh Refugee Council for the past six years. “It’s not something where people contribute and then they can get a board member out so they can say, ‘Look, we have X amount of diverse background. If that’s what happened, then something has gone horribly wrong somewhere. It’s about elevating people who have this wealth of experience, adding them to this big pot of board members who are available to corporations, housing associations [and other organisations] to improve our own communities.