Social Housing Isn’t Just About Somewhere to Live

The UK has a crisis when it comes to providing enough affordable places to live. But the housing crisis doesn’t exist in isolation, it’s also linked to issues of economic security and lack of opportunity for many citizens.

The solutions we need aren’t just about building more homes for affordable rent. We have to think about the communities we are creating and those that already exist. And we have to think about how the way these homes are maintained can contribute to social inclusion and thriving local economies.

“Bricks and mortar can create a sound home, and truly affordable rents make it practicable to live in, but it’s only when these are combined with care and attention to the human element of our communities that we can make a great place.”

David Walker, Bishop of Manchester

Significant financial and human resources are channelled into Repairs and Maintenance of social housing. This creates a massive opportunity to invest in communities to improve shared facilities and economic opportunity.

The benefits of community engagement are many. Not least of these is the fact that engaged communities are proud of their own properties and of their built environment. Research by the RSA highlights that ‘economic security is closely linked to how people feel about their lives and the places they live.’

Enduring Value

The legacy we leave as a repairs and maintenance partner has to be more than well-maintained housing stock. We ensure to deliver enduring social value and economic opportunity through a range of schemes.

For longer-term partnerships, we always agree a community investment plan with our customers. Typically, this will be a five-year plan to meet the specific requirements of the local area. Residents and community groups are fully involved in the process of agreeing priorities.

We help residents acquire the skills to take better care of their properties, we support local training and skills development, and we actively recruit from local communities and disadvantaged groups.

Our people are also given one day per year to devote to work that directly benefits the community. These days are typically used to improve playgrounds, community centres and other facilities. Investment in local supply chains is also important so that part of the legacy is a thriving local business community.

Because housing, economic security and inclusion are interlinked, it seems perfectly natural that delivering a positive legacy must be integral to every social housing repair and maintenance partnership.

Find out more about our community engagement here.