Expert adsvisory group will monitor findings
Shelter Scotland has launched a new project demonstrating the positive impact of new social homes.
Developed in partnership with the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT), the project
Is supported by an expert advisory group, and has had input from 14 registered social landlords, who have been capturing the experiences of their new tenants and the changes that their new or refurbished social home has had on their lives.
The first of its kind, it seeks to understand and quantify the difference made to an individual’s wellbeing as well the overall savings to the public purse.
Though in its initial stages, the project has already identified positive social change in several of areas of tenants’ lives. The initial findings suggest that social homes have a particularly positive impact on mental health and tenants’ personal independence.
The project also places a financial figure on the social value generated for respondents who noted a positive change from their move – an average of £11,371 of social value per respondent. This equates to an average of £543.96 of savings for the government per person.
Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The housing emergency in Scotland is getting worse, not better, and the only route out of it is to deliver more social homes.
“The Scottish Housing Regulator has said that homelessness services are on the brink of systemic failure, while the threat to housing posed by crumbling local authority finances was flagged by the Accounts Commission just last week.
“While it’s still early stages we expect this new tool will help us demonstrate that not only is social housing the best way to end the housing emergency it also measurably improves the lives of the people living there.
“We need those in power to understand that social housing shouldn’t be considered an expense but rather an investment.
“It is an investment in the wellbeing of Scotland’s citizens, it is an investment in our health, in our communities.
“With more than 9,000 kids in Scotland with nowhere to call home, delivering social housing is ultimately investing in the future.”
Michael McLaughlin, head of social value at HACT, said: “Social housing services in Scotland are seeing higher demand than ever before. However, the housing being available doesn’t solve the problem – there’s a need to ensure the housing on offer is providing desirable places to live for residents, not just in terms of the individual homes themselves but also the communities in which they’re located.
“We’re delighted that we’ve been able to partner with Shelter Scotland in order to measure the real-world benefits that social value work is having on people’s lives. It’s key to remember that all social value work impacts people’s lives, it isn’t simply an exercise mandated by law or as part of a company’s ESG policies.
“By speaking to the people living in the places involved in the project, we can truly see the impact of that work. And being able to show the true value of social value, we can ensure this informs and drives the strategy and decision-making going forward. This is a really exciting project with so much potential to change people’s lives.”
Clair Malpas, CEO of Cassiltoun Housing Association from the project’s advisory group, added: “Any report such as this which shows the value of social housing for people in Scotland is very welcome.
“The report findings that social homes provide people with secure, warm, safe and affordable homes should be used by Scottish Government and decision makers to justify the continued investment in social housing in Scotland.”