Housing association innovation in delivering affordable credit

Yvette Hartfree, Danny Friedman, James Ronicle, Sharon Collard and Kate Smith

This report looks at what housing associations are doing to help their tenants access affordable credit, and how effective these schemes are. The research draws on a literature review and 13 in-depth case studies of affordable credit schemes.

This report shows that:

  • a main benefit reported for tenants who received an affordable loan was the ability to meet essential needs. Other benefits were improved financial inclusion and money saved in lower interest payments (compared to using high-cost credit);
  • the evidence was limited regarding whether the take-up of affordable loans replaced tenants' use of high-cost credit;.
  • low take-up of schemes by tenants was a commonly reported problem;
  • affordable credit schemes can help some tenants to meet essential needs, but not those who lack the spare disposable income to afford loan repayments; and
  • a strength of the case study schemes was that they were part of wider financial inclusion and anti-poverty strategies.
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