bLEND lends exclusively to Registered Providers of social housing in the UK, and as such social impact is central to bLEND’s purpose. By providing low-cost, long-term capital markets funding bLEND supports the financial health of the sector and contributes to the building of quality affordable homes.
Housing associations go above and beyond the core provision of affordable housing, however, with many providing advice and support to tenants and communities in relation to employment and training, homelessness, social security and financial inclusion. The sector now leads the way on the decarbonisation of the UK’s housing stock needed to reach the 2050 net zero carbon target.
The social housing sector is characterised by a high-level of regulatory oversight through the respective Regulators in England, Scotland and Wales, which oversee compliance with high standards of governance. As part of this regulatory framework all housing associations measure and assess the Value for Money of their business operations, to ensure every penny spent has a positive social and environmental impact.
In May 2021 bLEND’s parent, The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC), published a Social Bond Framework and converted existing bLEND bonds into ‘Social’ bonds in recognition of the social impact of bLEND’s borrowers. This framework and the Second Party Opinion provided by Vigeo Eiris can be viewed below.
The reporting obligations set out in the framework are aligned with the social housing sector’s Sustainability Reporting Standard, of which THFC is an early adopter. bLEND will begin reporting annually on social impact, with the first report expected in 2021.