Social Housing as Infrastructure – ASVB Collaborates with CHIA

Posted on the 11th December 2019

Social and affordable housing plays a pivotal role in the lives of the people it provides a home. There are many basic needs and essential elements of wellbeing that are addressed by having a home. Recently Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) approached us at the Australian Social Value Bank (ASVB) to support their research into the inclusion of social and affordable housing as essential social infrastructure.

We must establish the merits for investment by governments into the building of new social and affordable housing properties if Australia is going to overcome our current housing supply and housing affordability crisis.

At the ASVB we have quantified the dramatic impact on people’s wellbeing when they move into social housing from being homeless or living in temporary accommodation. In monetary terms, the social value of the benefit to the individuals themselves, and the secondary benefits to society, are some of the highest ratios of cost to benefit in our Value Calculator. Once in these properties, the number of outcomes that can potentially be achieved by these tenants are diverse and often life-changing. They range from improvements in physical and mental health, educational attainment, social inclusion, employment and financial wellbeing.

We work with housing organisations across Australia who use the ASVB to put a social value on the work they do. There are two main areas in which organisations are using the ASVB to measure their social value. Firstly, to measure their core business of housing, by putting a value on the different transitions between housing situations for individuals and families. Secondly, to put a social value on the activities they carry out to support their residents to sustain their tenancies and the wider community development work in the neighbourhoods in which they operate. This evidence base of social impact and value is used to report back internally to senior management, frontline staff, board members and customers to prove the critical role housing providers play in their communities. Externally organisations use this evidence to support tenders, funding applications, as acquittal evidence for grants received and to attract private and philanthropic investment into their organisations work.

This current project by CHIA is attempting to draw attention to the combined impact of all social and affordable housing activity in Australia. The ASVB aspires to create a standard set of principles and assumptions which ASVB subscribers use, in order to allow the sector to aggregate social impact from multiple providers to provide a consistent and sector-wide valuation of the social impact they have in communities, across states and nationally. We have provided guidance to housing organisations on how they can use the ASVB to measure their core housing activities, including principles around choosing outcomes and what costs to include. [Core Housing Guidance]

Using a consistent methodology and set of principles, it will be possible to build a strong case for seeing social and affordable housing as essential social infrastructure. We are delighted to have been part of this initial piece of research by CHIA to present this case to the Federal Government. The use of ASVB values within this research will provide a powerful understanding, in monetary terms, of the potential financial benefits of investing in social and affordable housing, and the return for every dollar invested.

If you would like to know more about how the ASVB can support your organisation to measure and put a social value on the impact of your organisation’s work, please get in contact with Min Seto. For more information about the ASVB, visit our website here.

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