Project 7: Housing through Social Enterprise - implications for tenants, housing providers and wider society

The Housing through Social Enterprise project examined the experiences of tenants being housed or supported by three housing social enterprises in Glasgow. Looking across the private and social rented sectors, the research worked with:

  • Homes for Good, a not-for-profit letting agency, which also has an expanding portfolio of its own rented property.

  • Y People’s rent deposit guarantee schemes, which support people at risk of homelessness to access housing in the private rented sector.

  • NG Homes, a large community-based housing association, which provides social rented housing.

All three organisations have a strong focus on supporting vulnerable and low-income households, many of which have been homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

The project followed more than 70 tenants over the first year of their tenancy, interviewing them at three time points to see what was changing for them. The interviews focused on tenants’ housing experience and their health and wellbeing, to explore the impact of each organisation’s approach.

Key findings

The research showed a number of ways in which the actions of landlords, letting agencies and housing support organisations are important for tenants to be able to settle in to a new tenancy and make their house feel like home.

Four aspects are key:

  • Relationships - Tenants do better when they have a named person as their main contact at their housing provider, who respects and understands their individual needs, history and situation.

  • Property quality - Beyond the basics of a defect-free, efficient property, tenants need to be able to make their property feel like home. For some the ideal is an empty, blank canvas that they can customise. For others, it is much harder to make a home if the property is unfurnished and undecorated.

  • Affordability - Reasonable rent levels are important, but there are other financial factors at the start of a tenancy, which can have a significant effect on tenants' wellbeing. Help dealing with benefits, utility costs, refurbishment expenses and arrears is key.

  • Neighbourhood - Tenants settle more easily into their property if they have as much choice as possible about where they live, to find the right property in the right place where they feel safe and, for some, close to family and friends.

Where these four elements were in place, tenants settled easily and felt at home in their new tenancy, with positive impacts on their health and wellbeing.

More information about the research, as well as recommendations, which were co-produced with housing and public health experts are available in the following documents:

Housing through Social Enterprise – Final Report

Housing through Social Enterprise – Accessible Summary of Final Report

Housing through Social Enterprise - Recommendations

Project 7 Researcher: Steve Rolfe

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