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Uncovering the Value of Social Housing


19 September 2011 at 5:28 pm
Staff Reporter
In a first for the Social Return on Investment Framework, a new report puts a dollar value on the social benefit created by Australia's 42,000 community houses and units.

Staff Reporter | 19 September 2011 at 5:28 pm


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Uncovering the Value of Social Housing
19 September 2011 at 5:28 pm

In a first for the Social Return on Investment framework, a new report puts a dollar value on the social benefit created by Australia's 42,000 community houses and units.

Over $176 million worth of social benefit is generated by Australia’s 42,000 community houses and units each year, according to The Social Value of Community Housing in Australia Report .

The Social Value of Community Housing in Australia Report estimates that in the first year of living in community housing, the social benefits were significant:

  • The economic benefit for residents due to greater financial flexibility and less ‘housing stress’ was assessed at $2,500 per person or $78.5 million across the sector.
  • Improved education opportunities for adults and children were valued at $75 million.
  • Health benefits due to improved health and less demand on public health services came in at $23 million.  
  • The total social value of community housing was calculated at $176 million per year or $665 million over a five-year period.

The Social Value of Community Housing in Australia Report is being billed as the first time that a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis has been applied across a whole sector, anywhere in the world.

The report was commissioned by bankmecu along with the peak body the Community Housing Federation of Australia and low income housing advocacy organisation PowerHousing Australia, and carried out by Net Balance.

New Balance Project Director Ross Wyatt says the analysis measures the benefits that flow from a person moving from a situation of housing stress to a safe, secure and affordable home provided by one of nearly 1000 Not for Profit organisations, which manage community housing units.

Wyatt says with waiting lists for community housing continuing to grow, investment is needed. What this report does is clearly demonstrate the social return to individuals and the community on that investment.

Wyatt says SROI allows social value to be taken into account, and therefore into decision making processes – something that is particularly vital in sectors like community housing where financial performances are only part of the value story.

He says the benefits are significant and range from direct individual economic benefits to broader education, health and employment benefits – all of which can be measured and quantified.

Steven Lynch, bankmecu’s National Community Manager, says funding the report is part of the the bank’s responsible banking approach and its ongoing investment in affordable housing projects, which now amounts to more than $100 million.

SUMMARY OF SOCIAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT ANALYSIS

The table below summarises the creation of value as it was calculated for the four key outcomes over a period of 5 years. This calculation should not be considered as exhaustive – indeed it is likely to be underestimated as a conservative approach has been adopted – but rather be considered for its demonstration value.


 



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