4 Housing Associations Nationwide
Housing Associations FAQ
What is a housing association?
A housing association is an independent organization that works to help people in the UK find and remain in quality housing. Although they work with local and national governments, housing associations are not-for-profit organizations.
What are the goals of a housing association?
All housing associations believe that people live better lives when they have access to affordable quality housing. The goal of a housing association is to help people in the UK who can't afford to rent or buy their own homes escape the stress of being homeless or living in substandard housing.
Housing associations play a key role in the progress and development of the UK by making sure everyone in the country has access to decent affordable housing.
What do housing associations do?
Housing associations can help you find a flat or house and help you secure financial help to pay for your housing. Housing associations will also support you as you live in your accommodation with any financial or practical issues that arise.
If you need help finding and staying in good quality housing but can't afford market-rate rent or a bank loan, a housing association can help you.
How many housing associations are there in the UK?
Currently there are about 2000 housing associations in the UK.
Who are the customers of a housing association?
The number and variety of UK residents who benefit from the help of a housing association is growing. Housing associations' customers include the unemployed, disabled, elderly and homeless and others who may need permanent help finding and staying in decent housing.
However, housing associations also serve a wider base of clients who need temporary help finding qualify housing. These include people who have jobs but don't earn enough to afford market rent or bank loan payments.
Key workers whose work is vital to a community but who don't earn enough to afford housing in the area the work in also benefit from housing associations.
In fact, recent surveys estimate that about 30 of people in the UK are working in jobs, but still don't earn enough to afford good quality housing that meets their needs. Housing associations offer temporary help to these people to allow them to find, afford, and remain in decent housing until they're able to afford their own homes.
Are UK housing associations run by the government or local council?
No. Housing associations are independent, not-for-profit organizations. They are usually managed by a board of directors and run by networks of volunteers. Housing associations may receive government subsidies or grants and they may contribute to research on housing in the UK that shapes government policy, but they operate independent of the government or local council.
Can a housing association help me purchase a home?
Housing associations have many different schemes set up to help people purchase homes they would otherwise not be able to afford. Through a housing association, for example, you may be able to purchase half of your home and rent the other half at a reduced rate for a period of time.
There are many rent-to-own schemes available through housing associations, and an association will consider your overall financial situation before recommending any particular scheme. An association's goal is to help you find and remain in housing that's right for you using a variety of finance options.
How do housing associations cover their operating costs?
Housing associations cover their operating costs through the rent that its tenants pay, or by rent that is paid to the association on behalf of its tenants (through, for example, government subsidies paid directly to the property owner or housing association).
Housing associations may accept donations, but generally they do not depend on donations to cover their operating costs.
Would a home or flat managed by a housing association always be in a run-down area?
No. Many people envision blocks of low-income flats when they think of properties managed by a housing association, but this is not an accurate view. Housing associations manage a variety of housing properties in many different neighbourhoods.
In fact, there has been a countrywide move among UK housing associations toward making social housing available in a mix of properties scattered across cities, as this helps avoid concentrations of poverty and tends to result in better work options and wellbeing for housing association tenants.
Must I be on public benefits to receive housing aid from a housing association?
No. You must be able to show that you need financial help to be able to pay market rent for your housing, but you need not be on public benefits to receive advice or assistance from a housing association.