Housing providers have a vital role to play in creating and highlighting local economic benefits – not just in terms of the properties they manage, but also in terms of the jobs they create and the services they provide.

The key is identifying which practices are closely linked to economic development and bringing those to light with effective reporting – whether that’s in relation to providing training and employment opportunities for locals, measuring the sustainability of procurement practices, or mitigating potential deficiency risks within the contractor onboarding process.

As part of this process, firms can also provide data-driven insights about how their projects and services assist with each element of the local economy.

By incorporating the appropriate economic, social and environmental concerns into their business policies and practices, housing providers can protect their business reputation and attract further investment when they show their commitment to responsible practice.

They then strengthen this commitment by approaching and hiring local talent (such as family-run businesses) in major projects to ensure the community receives the resulting increased economic benefits from such projects.

Creating measurable social impact by providing opportunities for local talent

Housing providers should ensure they are constantly delivering a positive social impact for their communities in ways which help create long-term value for their residents.To deliver this value for your communities, communication with your residents is key.  Implementing an effective public relations strategy that has a two-way narrative will help you to build relationships with community institutions – this will help them get an idea of both the needs and the skills within their local community.

With this information, they can then provide opportunities for SME growth by supplying affordable commercial space for community-led start-ups and creating appropriate jobs and/or training opportunities for nearby residents.

In leveraging the local workforce and existing businesses to provide key regional services, housing providers can ensure their communities are thriving for years to come.

Promoting sustainability efforts in procurement practices

Incorporating ESG practices into property design and maintenance creates local economic benefits by encouraging a stable supply chain. When housing providers use local contractors and nearby suppliers (where possible), this reduces transport costs, increases fuel efficiency, and lowers the project's carbon footprint.

Using a dedicated software platform to digitise procurement practices can help with more efficient operational processes for tracking work orders and project progress, which also lowers the need for repeat visits on each project.

Mitigating risks through diligent contractor onboarding processes

Once housing providers establish good relationships with their local communities through ESG practices, they can then show investors and regulators how they minimise the risk of subcontracting work outside the local area. Providers can do this by creating a robust approach to risk management within their contractor onboarding processes.

In documenting how the business scrutinises local service providers by asking the right questions, capturing detailed information about the service provider's business, and establishing best practices in interactions between customers, service providers, and local authorities, housing providers can show they are taking the right steps to improve and maintain the best possible outcomes – for both customers and service providers.

Providing data-driven insights to validate improvements from ESG initiatives

As this article has highlighted, the housing providers that show their commitment to corporate social responsibility through incorporating the right ESG practices into their business practices can attract vital investment and strengthen their reputation with regulatory bodies.

In order to identify and highlight which of their practices are closely linked to local economic development, housing providers will need to ensure they are measuring, monitoring, and reporting on relevant areas of activity.

This rich data can support housing providers in improving their understanding of how they are supporting local economic activity. However, the risk is that some providers may not have the capacity or resources to capture and display the full economic benefits they generate within their local area.

Here, the use of Proptech can provide a powerful solution for data gathering, analytics, and auditing. Using the right software can help housing providers to show, rather than tell, how they add value to their local communities.