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Tackling fuel poverty

Triodos Bank offers finance to improve social housing tenants’ living standards
Tackling fuel poverty_mygreenpod

Triodos Bank has created a dedicated £15 million lending pot for social housing providers to make energy efficient improvements to current housing stock to alleviate fuel poverty and develop green spaces, in an initiative to raise living standards for the UK’s most vulnerable residents.

Housing crisis

People living in social housing can be vulnerable and at risk of falling into fuel poverty, as older properties are often energy inefficient. Latest figures from gov.uk report 2.38 million households in England were living in fuel poverty – an increase from the previous year to 10.6% of all households.

Housing associations face pressures to increase housing capacity, which often comes at the expense of making energy saving measures in current properties and developing green spaces that are so vital for wellbeing.

‘The housing crisis has affected almost everyone in society, but none more than some of the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable. Not only are there financial challenges in housing, such as in heating homes, but also many developments lack community spaces and areas of natural habitats, which are formally recognised as having a direct benefit in addressing low grade mental health issues. Together, working with housing providers we want to ensure people can live comfortably, within their means and in healthy environments.’

BEVIS WATTS
Managing director of Triodos Bank UK

Bridging a gap

The problem for small and medium housing providers is that there are often not enough financial reserves to make the vital improvements to homes – for both future and current tenants.

Even if housing providers show good financial track records, lenders have traditionally only been able to finance loans by taking security – often the housing stock that providers currently own.

Triodos Bank is looking to bridge this gap with Warmer Homes and Greener Communities loans to housing associations. Triodos Bank will take no direct security at the outset of the loan.

‘Any housing development needs to consider the impact it will have on people and the planet. While tackling the housing crisis with increased numbers, we need to be building homes that are not only cost effective for the people who live there but that also offer wider environmental and aesthetic benefits, with amenity spaces that people are proud to live in. Innovative solutions, including access to finance from banks like Warmer Homes and the Greener Community loan from Triodos, are to be encouraged.’

KEVIN MCCLOUD
Broadcaster and director of HAB Housing

First of its kind

The Warmer Homes and Greener Communities initiative is the first of its kind widely offered by a UK bank and supports the social housing sector in delivering environmental and social benefits.

Housing providers working in partnership with socially responsible sustainable banks like Triodos can help solve some of the housing crises by, for example, retrofitting homes to protect tenants from devastating fuel poverty.

‘We believe banks should be thinking about the long-term needs of society and working in partnership to develop finance initiatives that address the real challenges we face, like climate change, fuel poverty, lack of affordable housing and many more. We hope this is an example of how finance can work for good. Banks use your money and we should all be examining whether they do so in our own interests.’

BEVIS WATTS
Managing director of Triodos Bank UK

Click here for more on Warmer Homes and Greener Community loans.

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