Lessons of the IHP
Safe, decent, affordable housing plays a key role in improving lives and communities in the U.S. and around the globe. Its ongoing shortage has opened the door to new ideas about how to manage, preserve, and develop affordable housing that is more sustainable and cost-effective, while also guaranteeing the best possible living situation for residents. Housing Partnership Network’s (HPN’s) search for innovative social enterprise models that can better leverage private sector resources has led us to explore both domestic and international examples, particularly those from the United Kingdom. Our recommendations are based on HPN members’ experience developing and financing affordable housing in the U.S. and our learning from over a decade of international exchanges with affordable housing developers from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The International Housing Partnership (IHP) was launched by HPN in 2003 and is now a collaborative of more than 175 high-capacity nonprofits from Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. that collectively operate one million affordable homes housing more than 2.5 million people. Our paper explores the lessons these international exchanges offer to the U.S. affordable housing delivery system, with special focus on what we learned from our British colleagues. The international exchanges have deepened our thinking on how the combination of social mission with private enterprise work.