Tag Archives: CAF

Funding Community Housing – a landscape view

Update: 5th August 2019

George Clarke is beginning a campaign to re-energise social housing. Join him here.

‘TV architect and Big Issue cover star George Clarke’s petition, aimed at persuading the government to build 100,000 council houses a year, wins massive approval on its first day…’ Source: Big Issue

Working in communities, for us, involves delivering free support and resources to the nascent individual social entrepreneur or the community group, incorporated or not, involved in the transition to an active community focused business.

The nature of developing community business, or individual entrepreneurship, often involves a wider dialogue about social policy and the quality of life for residents in the broadest terms. Housing is often part of that narrative.

SocEntEast Mids does not offer advice on matters concerning investment, banking or legality. We freely collaborate with community players to share our decades of aggregate experience in community development and enterprise engagement.

That said, as the conversation in the meeting room, or community centre eddies and swirls towards a conclusion, it is useful to be able to tender some broad signposting around themes of concern, as part of that engagement process.

The narratives, data and contacts below, all freely available in the public domain, are an attempt to provide such a signpost.

A really useful place to start is the Power to Change: Business in Community Hands pages. here you can find grants that ‘…support projects that build of refurbish affordable homes’.

Homes in Community Hands ‘…are focusing on community groups in the early stages of their community-led housing development to support feasibility and predevelopment work, leading up to submitting a planning application. Our research has shown that is where funds are needed most to get projects moving’.

Discover more here: https://www.powertochange.org.uk/get-support/programmes/community-housing/

Targeting Funding to Support Community-led Housing is a publication also from Power Change. Authored by Tom Archer, Anna Kear, Catherine Harrington – Power to Change August 2018.

Targeting funding - download image and web link...
Targeting funding – download here: pdf

This is an essential primer when thinking about engagement in any aspect of community led housing projects.

Development stages, funding stages and the current provision of the funding and financial support available are all clearly labelled here.

Also useful in the appendix of the publication is the advice given on how to do a SWOT analysis of funding need for your development stages.




Even more current is Helping Communities Build – A review of the Community Land Trust Funds and lessons for future support. Authors: Dr Tom Archer, Dr Stephen Green with Charlie Fisher | January 2019, this publication, was produced by Sheffield Hallam University and the Charities Aid Foundation.

Community-led housing schemes empower people, enrich local communities and improve the lives of residents. They can breathe new life into a village by offering affordable homes below market rate to families that are priced out of the area they live and work in.

The authors argue that CLT’s are a currently under deployed tool for community social enrichment, but non the less, this paper highlights the context of the mechanism and is, in our opinion, particularly honest and useful in making an assessment of obstacles and pinch points in any community housing scheme.

See more here…(pdf).

CAF and Power to Change also have a useful web article on a new source of funding available – Blended Finance Available for CLT’s. Authored by Anne-Helene Sinha, it is a new and pioneering offer in the marketplace.

CivilSociety.co.uk have a useful article by James Johnson – Should you invest in Social Housing?

Johnson’s argument is, essentially, that investors with a conscience can all help to alleviate the current housing crisis by investing in the sector. He is also strong on the weakness and re-directions  of central government in the housing mix over time…

…blame can be laid at the door of government. In 2009 (the last full year of Gordon Brown’s administration), Whitehall provided £11.4bn towards the cost of building homes. By 2015 (under David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition), this had over halved to £5.3bn. More pertinently, perhaps, in terms of GDP, the fall is even more dramatic – it has dropped from 0.7 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

A depressing tale, well told with numbers to underscore the disparity of supply versus demand.

More useful links for data and context:

The Plan to End Homelessness, by Crisis, is also another salutory lesson in how housing and welfare policies have failed to work effectively, either with each other, or with the homeless to create sustainable and affordable solutions to the present crisis.

See the full report here

Big Society Capital also have data and information resources of Social Housing and Homelessness. You can see a sector snapshot and data from 2017 here… (pdf).

They also offer some useful case studies, in an article by their Investment Manager, Aman Johal, on the factoring of social investment to amplify housing and local facilities.

See more here: https://www.bigsocietycapital.com/about-us/previous-projects/housing-and-local-facilities

Editor’s Note:

SocEntEastMids does not offer banking, finance or legal advice. Our free resources and support is dedicated to sharing our decades of community enterprise experience collaboratively with the nascent social entrepreneur or ethical business minded community group.

We are happy to have a ‘social enterprise’ conversation at any time, and to donate free resources, to foster the aims of the sector.

Social Impact Bond – impactful or not?

The Social Impact Bond is a topical, a la mode form of payment by results (PbR) device, to enable social organisations to deliver services in the public sector.

This short article draws on detail a paper by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), Funding Good Outcomes, from the Autumn of 2012 and from a more recent article by Caroline Fiennes, in an issue of Philanthropy Impact Magazine, What the First Social Impact Bond Won’t Tell Us.

An arguement for Social Investment form CAF
Funding Good Outcomes from CAF

The CAF paper makes a good case for PbR, and how with support the social sector can engage with commissioning bodies and, with its focus on outcomes, use the sector’s sensibility and sensitivity to change in a community of interest to achieve potentially profound results.

PbR based on outcomes presents a real opportunity for not for profit organisations to win public service delivery contracts. As the focus is shifted away from the exact nature of the service towards the outcomes produced, there is more room for innovation and greater freedom for not for profits to demonstrate effectiveness in their approach.

You can download a pdf copy of the CAF paper here

The CAF paper looks at several examples of new, or newish, PbR programmes, from The Work Programme, The Youth Contract and the Peterborough Pilot. The paper does recognise the singular and distinctive flaw in some PbR provision for the social sector. Risk, and the inherent pressure of working capital needs as the service is rolled out to accommodate the strictures of the commissioned work.

CAF cite examples where PbR has driven sector players to extinction as a result of this pressure. They call upon the social finance sector to look at alternative methods of capital deployment to accommodate these new service delivery models.

They cite the need for Social Finance to lend to PbR contractors, in order to help sustain the emerging contract.

They call for options which see the commissioning body contracting with the Social Finance intermediary – with the Social Investment Financial Intermediary (SIFI) mitigating risk by calling upon a spread of external social investors to support the contract delivery.

Thay call for SIFI’s to act as underwriters of the contract, providing payment guarantees to well monitored and managed programmes of work. The interesting example they use is the Goldman Sachs model, where a $10 million dollar Social Impact Bond was funded to transform outcomes at Rikers Island Prison in New York.

So, even within the development of new Social Finance modalities, there is the opportunity to be subtle and agile in approaches to contract structure, whatever the scale of the investment, this author would argue.

See the Fiennes article here...
Philanthropy Impact Magazine – Summer 2013

In the article by Caroline Fiennes, What the First Social Impact Bond Won’t Tell Us, the author looks at the prison system too. This time in Peterborough in the UK.

Fiennes presents an argument, that even with elaborate arrangements in place and the agreement to deliver, the analysis of performance to assess the PbR outcomes can still be a flawed and inherently mis-leading process.

The Peterborough Pilot formal agreement sets out processes to repay investors when the agreed outcomes are reached. So far so good. However, Fiennes argues that assessing the level of re-offending by a target group of prisoners, which the contract uses to trigger repayments, is essentially based on flawed statistical assumptions.

You can download a copy of the magazine in pdf format here

The control group in Peterborough and the individuals receiving the ‘treatment’ are correlated by using a system called Propensity Score Matching. In this case the PSM is of a particularly elaborate kind. Using ten ‘control’ prisoners for each ‘treatment’ prisoner.

Fiennes argues that this methodology…

only ever looks at indicators which are observable, such as age, background and criminal history. Yet is often unobservable factors – such as attitude or resilience – that drive behaviour.

Secondly, the data used is stored on the Police National Computer, which itself is of a very basic nature…where it cannot distinguish whether somebody had problems or a history of heroin use, which obviously would influence their behaviour and the care they need.

The Fiennes paper also argues that it is going to be difficult, even with a ‘successful’ contract outcome, to assess the comparative strengths of the Bond programme, when set against, for example, the good an enlightened and responsive prison governor might achieve, even without the Bond.

Professor Sheila Bird of Cambridge University opines that all of these problems could have been averted, if the the first Social Investment Bond in the UK had been tested against a known intervention with a conventional funding mechanism.

So even having succumbed to the lure of the new, there is much complex reflection needed to justify these new finance tools and to successfully measure their outcomes appropriately.

This does not, we would argue, negate their importance or cease to offer SIFI’s and commissioning bodies examples of financing social outcome, even in areas and communities where the scale of investment and the outcome expected is of more modest proportions.


Ethical business with a social dimension...
Ethical business with a social dimension…

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