Places After The Pandemic

Published: 17th September 2020

Covid 19 could offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for housing associations to deliver more with their communities, change how homes are built and adapt services, according to PlaceShapers’ and HACT’s Places After The Pandemic report.

As a PlaceShapers member, we took part in the report, along with more than 100 other organisations. The report shows how housing associations like us adapted during the national lockdown and played a key role as community anchors. It explores how social landlords are fundamentally reviewing their work and their role in places as we look to the future.

Places After The Pandemic will be launched on Thursday 17th September to discuss the findings and the next steps.

The report shows that, overall, in the first three months of lockdown, a sample of 42 PlaceShapers members made 300,500 welfare calls, gave advice and guidance to 57,000 people and organised 50,000 food deliveries. Members forged new partnerships with people and organisations in places to make sure support was there for everyone who needed it.

At Saffron during lockdown, we redeployed 68 staff in to volunteering roles (around a third of our workforce) helping tenants and the local community via South Norfolk Council’s Help Hub. In total, we:

• Collected 80 prescriptions
• Delivered 246 parcelled food packages and shopping trips
• Collected 25 pensions
• Connected over 500 people to a volunteer

PlaceShapers Chair Matthew Walker said: “The crisis has reinforced our sense of place and the value we place on our homes and neighbourhoods. A decent, affordable home meant living in comfort during lockdown. It meant space to work from home and home school.

“The support social landlords offered became a lifeline for many in frightening, isolated times. Up and down the country we heard stories of the difference landlords made and how they worked together in the places they work.”

This report explores the lessons we’ve learned so far from the Covid-19 pandemic, including how local our view of place is and the importance of building strong, trusting partnerships in places.”

Andrew van Doorn, CEO of HACT, said: “As community anchors, housing associations are in a unique position. We work in place for the long-term. We have the capacity to affect the recovery and reset of communities across the UK now and in the future.”

“There are significant risks ahead of us that we will need to navigate. By working in collaboration, by evaluating and learning from our experience, by being bold in our choices, we will be able to accelerate change, maximise our resources and achieve greater impact as place-based organisations.”




















HACT undertook:

  • Twelve interviews with senior staff, predominantly Chief Executives, of PlaceShapers’ members
  • Held 5 themed focus groups, with 79 attendees in total, representing 49 housing associations
  • Drew on monthly data from 42 housing associations

About PlaceShapers (

PlaceShapers is a national network of more than 100 community-based social housing providers.

All members sign up to these five principles:

  • Our residents and customers are at the heart of what we do and have genuine impact on our organisations.
  • We listen and provide more than just landlord services because we care about people and places.
  • We build homes that respond to the needs of the communities we serve.
  • Working collaboratively and actively with our local authorities and other local partners enables us to improve and shape places at both a strategic and operational level.
  • We are run by members, for members and are committed to a diverse, values-driven housing association sector.

About HACT (

HACT helps housing providers drive forward their social purpose by generating actionable evidence to inform the development of new, smarter, and more connected ways of working.

We’ve being doing this for 60 years. Our ambition is to unleash the creativity and potential of social housing in communities across the UK.