This Social Investment Insights paper focuses on how social investment can be used to support the housing sector.
The UK has a housing crisis where demand is outstripping supply. This is leaving many people unable to access suitable housing, with increased concerns about rising levels of homelessness and the poor quality of some private rented accommodation. In addition, there are groups, including older people and disabled people, who find it even more difficult to find suitable accommodation that facilitates their care and support needs.
The government, charities and housing associations currently deliver interventions to address the social need for housing, with most social and affordable housing development carried out by independent, nonprofit housing associations. However the funding environment for housing and related interventions is changing significantly and established models of delivery will need to adapt. In light of this, we have sought to identify a number of specific areas where social investment could play a role in the development of more affordable housing, in more effective use of existing housing stock and in providing the support required to help people stabilise their housing needs and move on through the system.
Big Society Capital currently has two investments in its portfolio seeking to address this issue. The first is in Resonance Community Land and Finance CIC’s Affordable Homes Rental Fund which provides affordable homes to local people by making loans to Community Land Trusts. The second is in the Real Lettings Property Fund which is supporting the lettings arm of homeless charity St Mungo’s Broadway and providing transitional accommodation to formerly homeless people, or those at risk of homelessness.
As part of our Strategy from 2014 to 2017 we are seeking investments that have the potential to scale up and attract large pools of capital. We will seek to maximise the impact of our housing-related investments, by focusing on the needs of the relevant beneficiary groups, as well as through the catalytic impact that Big Society Capital’s investment can have on the market.
This paper sets our Big Society Capital’s thinking in more detail, and invites those with ideas and opportunities to approach us for further discussions.