What do people think about ‘home’ and key functions of housing associations?

Housing associations are independent, not-for-profit organizations that can use any profit they make to maintain existing homes and help finance new ones. A key function of social housing is to provide accommodation that is affordable to people on low incomes. Limits to rent increases set by law mean that rents are kept affordable. Yet, simple as it may seem, the question is of course what ‘key function’ encompasses.

Our service: Internal awareness of the development of the public debate. Supporting employees of housing associations or the (local) government in recognizing frames and using the words that fit the frame, in order to give meaning to ‘key functions’, and work on general acceptance of government policy.

More on social housing

Social housing is let at low rents on a secure basis to those who are most in need or struggling with their housing costs. Normally councils and not-for-profit organizations (such as housing associations) are the ones to provide social housing. Registered providers (often known as social landlords) are the bodies that own and manage social housing. They tend to be non-commercial organizations such as local authorities or housing associations.

Not met by the market Affordable housing includes social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to specified eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. It can be a new-build property or a private sector property that has been purchased for use as an affordable home. The UK government publishes annual statistics on affordable housing supply in England. These show the gross annual supply of affordable homes, which includes new build and acquisitions from the private sector but does not take account of losses through demolitions or sales. However: ‘not met by the market’ is the dominant frame in the UK. This is not the frame in all European countries.

Information and Statistics Information on the number of affordable homes delivered under the Homes and Communities Agency affordable housing programs is also published twice a year, normally in June and November. The objective of the statistics is to report on affordable housing delivered through its programs, while the Department for Communities and Local Governments statistics aim to provide a complete picture on affordable housing delivered, irrespective of funding mechanism. While delivery through the HCA’s accounts for the majority of affordable housing supply, the scope of the statistics reported is wider than the HCA figures.

Our service If, according to the government, it suffices to give the figures, the question is if the system of housing meets with the social license among not only the people concerned, but also the society at large. In other words: what meaning is being given to social housing. Is it a last resort for poor people, (almost) homeless, or, to quote ‘Shelter’: “Many of the issues with social housing stem from the same problem: there just have not been enough social homes built over the past few decades. But while there is a huge lack of supply, demand for social housing has soared. More recently, a series of government policy changes have changed the very nature of social housing.” Bold statistics do not suffice to give meaning and acceptance to government policy and are probably in need of just that.


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