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17 July 2012

Housing associations last year helped improve the lives of over eight million people with more than half a billion pounds of community investment, according to a new report by the National Housing Federation.

Building Futures shows the scale and variety of housing associations’ investment in England’s communities, helping people get out of debt, back into work and giving young people a chance of a brighter future.

The report includes an acknowledgment of input from Third Sector Research Centre
at the University of Birmingham for their assistance in the questionnaire design, validation of returns and primary analysis of data. This work was undertaken as part of a Collaborative (CASE) PhD studentship with the National Housing Federation by Vanessa Wilkes supervised by Prof David Mullins.

In 2011 housing associations invested £746.5m in community projects; £529.5m from their own resources and £217m raised from other organisations. Projects covered a wide range of services from jobs and training, learning and skills, health and well-being to community safety and employed around 11,000 people.

Vanessa's PhD has now moved on to explore HA approaches to measuring the social impact of their community investment activities, building on a survey with HACT, the housing action charity. 

David Mullins commented, ‘The NHF audited provides a welcome addition to our knowledge of the extent of valuable community investment work that housing associations are well-placed to undertake in partnership with others. Further work to assess the social impact of this work and to develop strategic frameworks to take this work forward is now a key priority for many organisations in the sector.’

Further Information

In addition to Vanessa Wilkes’ PhD and David’s work with HACT, TSRC is also involved in work on measuring social impact across the third sector