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Housing for Good: Building better communities.

10 Jul 2024 | 4 min

A development can make an impact on more than just the landscape.

At Together, we’re big believers that new developments and renovation projects can enable, improve and empower communities; providing protection and opportunities for the vulnerable and underserved.

In this blog, we take a look at some of the issues facing the social housing sector and examples of how housing can be used for good.

Affordable housing for the most vulnerable

In December 2023, at least 309,000 people, including 140,000 children, were classed as homeless in England. According to research from Shelter, that’s a 14% increase from the previous year.

They’re sobering statistics that bring the effects of the housing crisis in to sharp focus, with rising rents and house prices and lack of affordable housing options putting even more families at risk.

But, there are individuals, charities and businesses throughout the UK helping to make small steps towards tackling the larger problem. Social housing developers are playing their part with ongoing projects, providing more affordable housing and community spaces where they are needed most.

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Customer Story: VSPG Housing, Manchester

Over 50 vulnerable families are already benefitting from safe, stable and secure homes, thanks to the work of a social housing company run by two entrepreneurial brothers.

Since 2021, VSPG Housing has bought and refurbished a range of properties throughout Greater Manchester that have been given to families in the local authority.

Read about their mission to eliminate homelessness, their ambitions to help more people, and Together’s role in supporting their aspirations.

Alex Bodie, Director of Corporate and Community Housing at Together, explained why he thinks it’s so important to support social housing developers like VSPG Housing in their ambitions.

“Providing affordable housing options is vital in the UK right now. There are far too many vulnerable people and children that simply don’t have a stable living status, either being homeless or housed in temporary accommodation. It’s having a serious detrimental impact on their quality of life, their safety and the opportunities for education, employment and social advancement.”

“It’s not an easy fix, and it’s a complex issue – but we know that every step in the right direction should be encouraged. We know that social housing developers can’t solve this issue on their own; for one thing, they need partners that understand the work they do, share their vision and support them. As a trusted lender with experience and expertise in the sector, we can play our part in our customers’ projects by liaising with the different parties involved, and making sure funds can be accessed as quickly and simply as possible to keep the project moving and help the impact be realised quicker.”

  • Since setting up the Community Housing and Healthcare channel at Together in 2022, we’ve supported the development of 1,014 affordable homes for 5,483 tenants (as of July 2024)

Specialist care homes and supported living

70% of local authorities and housing associations feel like they aren’t able to manage the need for adult specialist care in their local area.

That’s according to a recent panel survey on the state of adult specialist care in the UK. Many of the panel expressed that local people had been forced to look outside of their area, with some moving over 50 miles away, to find specialist accommodation.

Two men in high vis shaking hands on a building site.

Customer Story: Mornington Road, Preston

A flagship scheme, complete with 13 apartments, is transforming the lives of local adults with additional learning needs. By providing safe and supportive homes, residents are able to live more independent lives.

The disused former bowling green has been converted into a state-of-the-art supported living complex by developer Weaver Finch, with a £1.75m development loan from Together.

Read how the development is benefitting the residents, their families, the local council and the wider community.

Our panel overwhelmingly told us that they think demand for specialist care will continue to increase in the next two years, adding to the challenges for councils and local authorities.

  • Since 2021, we’ve provided the finances to build 111 care homes for the elderly (43), adult specialist care (24) and children (44).

Supporting the people making a difference

Because of the escalating crisis in community housing and healthcare, we think it’s important that lenders are providing responsible support to developers like Weaver Finch and VSPG Housing. At Together, we believe that we can help make a difference by:

  • Building trusted relationships with social housing developers, and collaborating with them and their other partners throughout the entire project – from acquisition and planning, to completion.

  • Understanding the needs and challenges of the sector so we can make quick and informed lending decisions based on common-sense, not just criteria.

  • Providing access to the required level of funding at each stage of the project to keep development moving forward.

This support allows developers to continue creating the facilities required to meet the increasing demand for affordable housing, and improve the lives of the adults and children in our communities that need additional specialist support.

If you’re interested in finding out how Together can help you with your community housing projects, head to our Community Housing and Healthcare page or contact our dedicated team.

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Articles on our website are designed to be useful for our customers, and potential customers. A variety of different topics are covered, touching on legal, taxation, financial, and practical issues. However, we offer no warranty or assurance that the content is accurate in all respects, and you should not therefore act in reliance on any of the information presented here. We would always recommend that you consult with qualified professionals with specific knowledge of your circumstances before proceeding (for example: a solicitor, surveyor or accountant, as the case may be).

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