Reignite bonds between social housing and philanthropy, argues report
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Development
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The relationship between the social housing sector and philanthropy should be reignited to tackle the housing crisis, a new report has claimed.
In 'Rebuilding the relationship between affordable housing and philanthropy' Peabody and the think tanks NPC and the Smith Institute call for a working group to be formed between the affordable housing and philanthropy sectors.
According to the report, a collection of 10 essays by a range of experts, despite the two sectors’ long established relationship and similar social purposes, their worlds have steadily grown apart over the past century.
Whilst philanthropy cannot hope to replace government grants for affordable housing, the report argues that it could play a bigger role in both community investment and building new homes.
The organisations behind the report claim that philanthropists, grant-making trusts and foundations could help support the work of housing providers, such as by creating programmes to boost employment and improve skills, and by tackling isolation amongst older people.
The report notes that there are also opportunities for investment in new or existing homes in the form of subsidised land, cheap loans, equity stakes or grant giving, all of which could help enable greater innovation in the affordable housing sector.
But the report warns that if such joint working is to materialise, stronger partnerships need to be built - social housing providers cannot expect to be funded and then be left alone.
Stephen Burns, executive Director for new business at Peabody, said: "This report represents a new beginning in the relationship between affordable housing and philanthropy.
"Peabody is building thousands of homes across London, creating new neighbourhoods for the 21st century, with first-class design principles that have sustainability and the wellbeing of our residents at their heart.
"There are huge opportunities for businesses, foundations, grant-making trusts, and individuals who want to help build a better society - to work with us. I hope this report will be the catalyst to make these possibilities a reality."
Vicki Prout, NPC's housing lead, said: "Homelessness and housing need is spiralling, and given modern days costs of land and building it is not going to be possible for philanthropists to ‘solve’ the housing crisis.
"However, even if philanthropic money can only nibble around the edges of this huge and deeply entrenched problem then surely this work is worth doing."
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation and contributor to the report, said: "The scale of the housing crisis is so huge that tackling it must not just be a government priority.
"Everything that might offer a potential solution must be utilised and housing associations are one part of the answer. As major philanthropic organisations they have always looked at innovative ways to generate more money to put to good use through building new affordable homes, and ensuring that those communities are sustainable and thriving through targeted community projects."