In Conversation With… Paul Smith, 30/05/24


Housing Associations, Friend or Foe?


On Thursday 30 May, we were proud to host an event in our ‘In Conversation With…’ series, with Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is the Chief Executive of Elim Housing a small housing association providing a range of specialist and general needs housing services in the West Country. Paul has a long experience in local government, he was first elected to Bristol City Council in 1988 and served for 10 years on the housing committee. Retiring from local Government in 1999 Paul returned in 2016 and was the Cabinet Member for Housing at Bristol City Council, reviving council house building in the city. Much of Paul’s career has been in social housing including two stints at the housing association umbrella organisation the National Housing Federation, Chief Executive of the housing skills agency Housing Potential UK, Chief Executive of the anti-poverty and environmental charity the Furniture Re-use Network.

Paul has a degree in Astrophysics and first became involved in housing when campaigning in the early 1980s on youth homelessness and later in setting up what is now Bristol’s largest homelessness agency, 1625 Independent People. Paul grew up in council housing and was also a council tenant and supported his mum when she was chair of the tenants area committee and a local tenants association. Paul has recently published a book about the planning and building of the post-war estate he grew up on and represented on the council called “Hartcliffe Betrayed: The fading of a post-war dream”