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Why housing associations should build commercial property

The Guardian
Housing associations should develop homes and commercial property to take a slice of a lucrative market as grant funding dries up. Photograph: Micha Theiner / Rex Features

Housing associations should develop homes and commercial property to take a slice of a lucrative market as grant funding dries up. Photograph: Micha Theiner / Rex Features


Housing associations are at a cross roads. Gone are the "good old days" when the path ahead was obvious. While we used to be sheltered from market risks and business perils by generous funding arrangements and a healthy dose of benign regulation, these have now been taken away and we must to step forward and accept responsibility for determining our own destiny.



I don't foresee a return to the days of milk and honey. The scale of cuts required in public expenditure will not be achieved by simply trimming budgets and deferring discretionary spending. Structural and seismic shifts will be required in the way we operate. I also don't think society has yet fully understood or appreciated the impact and consequences our growing and ageing population; it will change expectations, demands and the affordability of traditional patterns of care and support.

Hanover is a leading provider of extra care services, which combine accommodation and living space with access to a social care, catering and more. This can provide a great alternative to residential care – but it is also an expensive option that has required high levels of grant funding and a substantial commitment to service costs. The public pound would not stretch very far even if social care was the only thing commissioned and provided.


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