Housing associations and welfare reform: facing up to the realities

Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research report looking at how housing associations have responded to changes.

15 May 2014

Based on in-depth interviews with 15 housing associations across England, this report highlights the changes experienced by housing associations since last April. It documents some of the strategic responses, from amending policies and practices, reviewing development plans to mobilising staff from across different departments to face the new challenges. 

Overall, the associations saw themselves as coping well and felt that they would be able to manage current arrears levels if no further problems arose. However, they did report that some tenants seemed to be facing an ever increasing burden, faced with an accumulation of changes including the bedroom tax, the changes in council tax benefit and rising utility costs.

The roll out of Universal Credit, and in particular the introduction of direct payments to tenants, was also seen as likely to intensify the difficulties faced by both landlords and tenants.

This report revisits participants  who took part in the first stage of the research, which was conducted before reforms took effect and forms part of the large-scale research project conducted on our behalf by Ipsos MORI and the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research.