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.
In November 2021 THFC published a Sustainable Bond Framework with a Second Party Opinion also provided by Vigeo Eiris. bLEND’s 2061 series was converted to be a Sustainability Bond (click here for full details of the conversion).
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 has recently published its first Social Impact and Sustainability Reporting Standard Disclosure Report, which can be viewed below.