As a not-for-profit lender to Registered Providers of social housing, the very core of THFC’s business and mission is about social impact. The loans THFC has written over its thirty-year history have contributed to the robust financial health of the social housing sector and the building of thousands of quality, affordable homes.
Britain’s housing associations go above and beyond the provision of affordable housing, with many providing advice and support to their tenants and communities in relation to employment and training, homelessness, welfare services and financial inclusion. In addition, housing associations have long been innovating to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. THFC signed some of the first green loans in the sector to help its borrowers build new environmental houses and improve existing stock.
The social housing sector is characterised by a high-level of regulatory oversight through the respective Regulators in England, Scotland and Wales, which oversee compliance with high standards of governance. As part of this regulatory framework all housing associations measure and assess the Value for Money of their business operations, to ensure every penny spent has a positive social and environmental impact.
As well as being central to the tackling of Britain’s housing crisis, then, housing associations are also well placed to react strategically in fulfilling four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:
Good Health and Well-being
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Sustainable Cities and Communities
The recent growth of Environmental, Social and Governance investing has seen investors look to housing associations as financially healthy, socially impactful investments. Private finance has become an increasingly important part of housing associations’ funding models, and so in the future the measuring and reporting of social impact, or ESG credentials, will be crucial to securing the confidence of investors.
THFC is now an early adopter of the social housing sector’s Sustainability Reporting Standard, a first of its kind initiative to establish a sector standard for ESG reporting. Piers Williamson, THFC’s CEO, sits on the steering group for the implementation of the SRS. As an early adopter THFC will be integrating the SRS into its activities as the leading aggregator for UK housing associations.