Trafford Housing Trust

A summary post from Trafford Housing Trust ahead of the Board Insight day on 22nd July 2015.

THT Purpose: We are a force for good, driven by social justice, inspiring people and neighbourhoods to be the best they can be.

THT Vision: We strive for a society transformed, free from poverty, inequality and injustice where:

  • People take responsibility
  • Have information to make choices
  • Are healthy and happy
  • Everyone makes a valuable contribution

The impact of the Summer Budget 2015 is likely to be highly disruptive to the long-term financial planning of many Housing Associations, particularly LSVTs and those who do not have a strong development pipeline in diversified and intermediate products.

Our view is that a new and comprehensive focus on the whole of an organisation’s strategy and business model is required, including the costs base and the use of modern technology to support a more transactional set of services allowing more personalised services to be focussed on those in greatest need.

In the context of rent and income strategies we see the following opportunities:

  • Taking advantage of the income-enhancing aspects of the Summer Budget, particularly around ability to pay through better understanding of customer segmentation, need and ability to pay.
  • In the context of pan-public sector services in an area, now brokering alliances with key public sector partners to understand better the true cost of services to the individual. These discussions can then be used to explore ways in which pooling income or resources can support the development of the most effective ways to support a core of high-usage residents, tenants or customers.
  • Further to this HAs may also consider whether they can become a provider of choice in an area for care provision, for example, attracting income to support rents from health partners who may then avoid higher cost and more acute provision.
  • We also believe there is some significant mileage in better use of digital platforms which provide tenants with the opportunity to register for online services but also provide the opportunity for them to match their time or skills to the needs of either the HA or other tenants. In contributing their time through a digital economy, communities may be better able to self-serve and so reduce costs to the HA. In addition, an individual could earn credits which could be then off-set against their own rent. For example, 5 tenants volunteer to provide the estates management service to a block or estate for which they earn a 20% discount from their own rent bill and the HA also saves the costs of direct or sub-contracted cost of provision. Applied more broadly such approaches have secondary benefits in terms of supporting the creation of communities as well as providing the opportunity for skills development for individuals.