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Housing associations help people into employment

Monday 20 May 2019

A new report by the University of Salford has revealed the social housing sector’s significant impact on employment support.

Those housing associations which support their tenants into employment can do so for as little as £25 to £30 per tenant per year, according to The Housing Works: Assessing the Impact of Housing Association Employment Support report published today in Parliament.

Job clubs and enterprise development work are particularly successful for social tenants, it says. 

50% out of work

Around half of working-age social housing residents are currently out of work and the unemployment rate among residents is almost three times that of other tenures.

Managing Director of the Give us a Chance (GUAC) consortium of social landlords, Lynsey Sweeney, said: “This report is a reminder of the importance of the work that housing providers do to help people into work. 

“88% of the social tenant respondents have said that employment had positive social and economic impacts. For these reasons, GUAC are dedicated to working with housing associations and a range of stakeholders to support social tenants into rewarding employment.” 

The report, launched on 20 May in Parliament by Lord Richard Best, forms part of Communities That Work Week (20 – 24 May).

Four key findings

The report highlights four key findings: 

- Housing associations provide significant and vital employment related support to tenants. Frequently these services are provided by housing associations in order to help meet and deliver organisational priorities, assist with welfare reform changes, and help meet tenant demand. 

- There is a business case for housing associations to support tenants into employment, and into full-time employment, where relevant. Research shows the relationship between tenant employment and reduced rent arrears, with rent arrears decreasing as full-time employment rates increase. 

- Investment in employment related support by housing associations positively affects employment levels, with both full-time and part-time employment increasing with investment of up to approximately £30 and £25 per housing unit per year, respectively. 

- Housing associations are increasingly using external tools to measure the impact of their employment support, but there are widespread limitations on the use of existing tools. However, the level and quality of data collected on employment related support varied significantly, both at the organisational  level and between individual services/programmes. 

Little known

Dr Mark Wilding, of the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU) at the University of Salford, said: "Previously, little was known about the impact of social housing providers' employment support. This research is significant as it shows that housing associations play a key role in increasing employment levels, and this  is valued by their staff, tenants and partners, including Jobcentre Plus.

"Moreover there is a clear business case for housing associations to help tenants into work.

"We hope this research encourages more employment support, greater investment and extra steps to improve related impact measurement in order to demonstrate the significant contribution they make to employment outcomes for tenants."

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Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895