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Impact Investing & the Social Impact of Homeownership

The review of literature surrounding homeownership reveals a correlation between homeownership and positive social outcomes for households and their neighbourhoods

The advent of impact investing has given investors an opportunity to monitor not only the financial return of an investment but also the social and/or environmental impact.  Many new mechanisms have been developed to gauge and monitor social and environment impact that result from the immediate impact investment.

In the housing sector, the measure of social impact can often be made directly and based on financial value – reductions in housing cost and in addition for affordable home ownership models the creation of equity in the home.  This permits a relatively simple calculation of social value creation through housing affordability.  In the case of Trillium Housing, the provision of its Trillium 2nd Mortgage to income eligible home purchasers will directly reduce their monthly housing cost.  As an example, a $30,000 Trillium 2nd Mortgage would today reduce a family’s housing cost by about $175 a month.

In addition to the direct financial benefit that impact investment in affordable housing can produce for assisted families, there has been some research into the broader social impacts of the nature and quality of housing.

A new report entitled “The Social Impact of Homeownership” available from Trillium Housing and authored by Hadley Nelles provides an analysis of the additional broader benefits of homeownership.  The report cites a dozen studies works and draws conclusions regarding the positive impact of homeownership.

Four areas of positive social impact were identified:

  • An increase in household and financial security
  • Improved outcomes for children
  • Improved health and well-being
  • Community and neighbourhood impact

For modest income households gaining access to affordable home ownership, the literature identified superior outcomes for wealth creation and economic security.  For homeowners, rising housing costs contribute to their lifelong accumulation of wealth.

For children, the studies found homeownership related to higher graduation rates and future earning potential.  Improved health of homeowners relate back to an increase in self-esteem and access to better services experienced by homeowners.  Greater participation in civic organizations and local politics by homeowners was also identified in the research reviewed by the report.

The full report is available at  http://trilliumhousing.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Trillium-Housing-social-impact-report-FINAL.pdf

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