Building communities that work: The role of housing associations in supporting employment


One in 10 people in the UK live in a housing association property. Supporting more housing association tenants to access employment and to progress in work will be vital to boosting the employment rate and tackling poverty.

Today, 10 years on from the Hill Review, there remains a strong link between housing tenure and employment status. Housing association tenants are twice as likely to be unemployed as the average, they are three times as likely to be inactive, and those who are in work earn less. As a result, housing association tenants are more likely to be in poverty and most rely on housing benefit.

Many housing associations provide employment-related support to tenants. We estimate the sector delivers support worth over £70 million a year, with over £60 million coming from housing associations themselves. However, national employment and skills policies have failed to engage effectively with housing associations. Recent developments – including the devolution of the Work and Health Programme and the adult education budget (AEB) – offer the opportunity to build more effective place-based employment and skills services. Housing associations should be seen as key partners in supporting this agenda.

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