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Social and affordable housing: measuring the socio-economic impact

Vol.6 of the Series 'Housing in the post-2020 EU'

Brussels, 12 October 2022 | Published in Research

The immediate effect of the increase in the purchasing power of households, as they save on housing costs; alleviating poverty, providing homes to households on low incomes at rates that they can better afford; better health outcomes are some of the key outcomes that we should take into account when we speak about social and affordable housing. Read this brief which shows why investment in public, cooperative, and social housing has a significant payback to our society.

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly obvious that quality housing is an essential human necessity, inextricably linked to our health and well-being. Investment in social housing has also been clearly identified as key to a greener and more inclusive recovery of our economies in the post-pandemic (OECD, 2020).

Unfortunately, there has been a trend amongst EU countries to deprioritise social and affordable housing in favour of other forms of public investment. This trend, however, is in direct contradiction of the numerous studies that have been carried out across Europe, which indicate that investment in social and affordable housing pays high socio-economic dividends and thus is an indispensable area to invest in. 

There are a number of socio-economic benefits connected to social and affordable housing programs. Below, we’ll look at some of these aspects drawing on recent examples emerging from research carried out in collaboration with public, social and cooperative housing providers across Housing Europe membership.