Time for a Social Housing Sharing Strategy?

You’ve probably heard a lot about the Sharing Economy, but you might not know what it actually is. There is some debate about this. At its heart it is about people using their assets and skills for economic benefit. Some argue that that the more apt name is the Rental Economy. Examples of this kind of activity are things like AirBnB, Lyft, and Uber. What people are doing in these examples is not really sharing, they are renting their assets out. There are examples of sharing where people barter goods and services, but what the new wave of so-called sharing platforms do, is basically to use the internet to allow people with resources to offer them for hire to those who need them. Is it really sharing? Well, no, but, for the seller it can open up otherwise unused assets to generate economic benefit, and for the purchaser it can enable them to afford to do things they otherwise would not. I was prompted to write this post by news of the launch of Waze Commute, which allows commuters to find drivers commuting their way and pay them a modest amount for joining them for the ride.

It seems to me that social housing residents could benefit greatly from greater application of these kinds of approaches, but that they are probably benefiting least from them. I have been encouraged in recent years by the growth of the Asset Based Community Development movement, which emphasises the strengths available in communities rather than the deficits, but I’m not sure how far that is being translated into the economic sphere.

And a major consideration in all this is the relatively high level of digital exclusion among social housing tenants. While the so-called sharing platforms thrive because of ubiquitous internet access, and, particularly use of mobile internet, many social housing communities remain excluded from this party. I know as well, from personal experience, that some social housing tenants can be resistant to embracing the internet because they are reluctant to share their personal details and data online. So, I would suggest that any strategy to realise economic value from assets, skills and services in low income communities must have a digital inclusion strand at its heart.

I believe we need to start a debate about how social housing tenants can be included in the “sharing economy”. Who is up for that? Mabe a Twitter chat, a roundtable, or an actual event?

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Time for a Social Housing Sharing Strategy?

  1. John

    Count Greenfields in! Let me know how the responses go.

    Val Thompstone

    On Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 4:19 PM, John Pophams Random Musings wrote:

    > johnpopham posted: ” You’ve probably heard a lot about the Sharing > Economy, but you might not know what it actually is. There is some debate > about this. At its heart it is about people using their assets and skills > for economic benefit. Some argue that that the more apt n” >

  2. People in control! Yes. Would you see one way of this playing out to be, that a resident in social housing could rent space in their property to someone else, maybe whilst they were on holiday? Or that your empty driveway in a property close to a railway station could be rented during the day to a commuter at rate less than the station car park? Both ideas to maximise the use of the assets. But I do wonder what the housing associations would have to say about this?!

    • Thanks Paul. I think there may be some areas in which some radical changes in thinking will be necessary to make this kind of thing happen. At the moment, sub-letting of any kind is pretty much forbidden for social housing tenants. Perhaps that should be re-considered in some circumstances? What do others think?

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