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Student Co-op Homes

Social performance

Unlike the crowdfunded property investment vehicles that encourage ordinary people to speculate on buy-to-let properties, Student Co-op Homes model is based on fairness and brings benefits to all: students, local communities, investors and the co-operative economy. The only people who will lose out will be unscrupulous private landlords and letting agencies, which SCH think is actually another win!

Key Social Performance Indicators (KSPIs)

KSPIs are a measure of how the business is performing on delivering its main social or environmental purpose. Read more

KSPI 1 - Students

"I’ve just met so many amazing people, and bounced off so many ideas, I think it’s really enabled me to grow as a person and to think about how we can apply this to other areas of our life as well."

Students who live in student housing co-operatives will benefit financially, socially, and educationally. With fairer and more affordable rents and economies of scale, they’ll be less dependent on debt and have less need to work in part-time employment, enabling them to focus more on their studies. That increased economic security is multiplied by improved housing security, as residents know the landlord won’t suddenly evict them, or jack up the rent.

More secure and affordable housing in a community setting in turn means less anxiety, improved wellbeing and a better experience of education. Just as importantly, the student housing co-op can act to solve problems like damp and a broken boiler swiftly, so that students do not have to rely on a distant and uninterested landlord to ensure decent living conditions.

Students who have lived in student housing co-ops talk at length about how the experience has given them more confidence and allowed them to learn important new life skills. In particular, they have new opportunities to acquire entrepreneurial skills and learn practical knowledge on housing maintenance and co-operative business management. This has already led to ex-members of student housing co-ops making the choice to work for co-operatives and to become active members. Some have even launched new co-operative enterprises.

KSPI 2 - Local Communities

In some cities, conventional student housing has made integration between student and non-student communities more difficult by creating areas of high student density disconnected from local people. Complaints by local residents arising from issues created by these ‘student bubbles’ have been important enough to impact local planning policies.

Student housing co-ops facilitate and promote students putting down roots in local communities and integrate a sense of ownership, responsibility and belonging from one generation of students to the next. The evidence from the existing student housing co-ops is that students living in them are much more committed to integrating with their local communities than is the case with students in other forms of student accommodation. This is hardly surprising because student housing co-ops are themselves communities, which, as the already-successful student co-ops show, means they have a positive approach to the communities where they live.

KSPI 3 - Wider Society

Lower-cost, better-maintained housing improves opportunities for students from a diverse range of backgrounds to access education. By making housing – and thereby education – more affordable, Student Co-operative Homes will help widen access to education for students, especially those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Student housing co-ops also enable a new generation to develop valuable additional skills that will benefit society over the decades ahead. In particular, students are learning how to co-operate in the most practical way possible, extending the reach of the co-operative model to equip young people with the tools to tackle the world’s problems and build the co-operative economy of the future.

While private landlords have little incentive to prioritise energy efficiency, students who control their own housing have a strong interest in thinking long-term about the benefits of reducing energy consumption, emissions and waste, both in terms of the financial benefit that flows from this and in terms of the future of the planet. SCH is the ideal vehicle for facilitating this though investing in efficient buildings.

Birmingham and Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operatives are already taking such actions. Birmingham insulated its ninth bedroom’s walls and floor when it was converted from a garage. ESHC had cavity wall insulation installed in both of their buildings shortly after moving in, and they have been renovating their basements to high-efficiency specifications for communal space. They are also keen to install solar PV on their rooftops, an expensive initial outlay, but with significant financial savings and emissions reductions over the longer term. In light of the climate crisis, reducing the environmental footprint of housing is an essential aim of the movement we are trying to build.

KSPI 4 - Investor Members

SCH investor members will know that their capital enables the growth of an important new co-operative sector in the economy, providing community-led, affordable and high-quality student housing on a national scale.

They will also receive a fair return of up to 4% per year from an ethical investment.

In addition, the money invested will be used to purchase tangible, “bricks and mortar” property assets, reducing the risk of loss in case of business failure.

This isn’t an investment opportunity that comes around all that often!

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