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Measuring Impact – A blog by Sally Thomas

SFHA Chief Executive Sally Thomas explains the work we are doing to demonstrate the social and economic impact of social housing providers in Scotland, and how our members can get involved.

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All of us working in the social housing sector know that social housing providers do much more than provide homes: they go way beyond the bricks and mortar, with social justice built in and delivering from generation to generation.

They understand the centrality of housing in meeting all other social policy objectives, health and social care, child poverty, an ageing population, employment and education, and deliver on this.

In short, they do what other housing providers can’t or don’t aspire to, not only providing a home but making a real, tangible and long-term difference to the people who live there and the places they live in.

A recent survey of SFHA members told us that, while they all recognised the importance of understanding their broader impact on tenants and communities, only 37% currently measure their impact. In the light of this, SFHA has launched a series of projects on the social and economic impact of our members as part of our Innovation and Future Thinking programme.

Through these projects, we are developing toolkits and guidance to help our members measure their impact and shape the way that they engage with their tenants. We are also planning a campaign to raise awareness of the work of our members which has a significant social, economic or environmental impact.

Alongside these projects, SFHA will also commission research into the social and economic impact of social housing providers in Scotland. This research will establish a baseline of impact, and develop indicators which will form part of the SFHA tool for measuring impact.

The research - planned to take place between now and June 2020 – will demonstrate the significant impact of our members’ work on the economy and wider society. It will also inform the sector’s vision for the future of housing, which in turn will inform our work with the Scottish Government for continued and consistent investment in social housing from 2021 to 2040.

How you can help

Half of SFHA members are involved in our Housing Innovation Community, with some already actively involved in this particular work. We need more members to contribute. Anyone who would like to get involved or find out more get in touch with me or with Lorna Wilson, our Innovation and Future Thinking Lead.

We also want our members to partner with us in this research: helping us to shape the project. If you’d like to help deliver it or be more closely involved, including part-funding the work or resourcing in kind, please get in touch with Conor Hill, our Research and Policy Officer, Lorna, or me by 26th April.

We already know the impact our members have in their communities. By helping us to measure and raise awareness of this impact, we can continue to make the case for social housing well into the future.