Housing associations were developed with the aim of making accommodation available and affordable for all.
A housing association is a not-for-profit organisation which owns, lets and manages rental housing. Therefore, revenue acquired through rent is ploughed back into the acquisition and maintenance of property.
They originally appeared in the post-Industrial revolution years of the 19th century and they grew in importance in the 1960s and 70s with the increase in emphasis on social inclusion, and grew in the 1980s, when limitations imposed on council housing allowed them to take over a much bigger share of the social housing market.
Accommodation owned by housing associations is known as "social housing", a loose term which incorporates government-owned council housing and other affordable accommodation.
Housing associations offer homes for low cost rent. Millions of people cannot afford to buy a decent home or pay private sector rents. Housing associations try to meet the needs of these people by providing homes for almost 5m people at an affordable rent. HAs work in partnership with local authorities to meet local housing needs.
Housing associations offer low cost homes to buy. They can provide affordable property for tenants, first time buyers and key workers, offering shared ownership schemes.
Housing associations create jobs. Every £1bn invested in affordable housing employs 21,000 people for a year.
Housing associations can support communities through social enterprise. “Joblessness on many social housing estates tops 50% but at the same time, housing associations contract for millions of pounds worth of services each year. Social enterprise can deliver both services and social impact. So, put this all together, and across the country you could have a social businesses creating jobs for local people, delivering contracts for housing associations and reinvesting the profits in communities,” writes The Guardian.