Blog: Net Zero, Fuel Poverty, and Sustainable Retrofit: Addressing the Challenges from Housing 2023

Key takeaways from The Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference, Housing 2023.

Last week, GrantFinder attended The Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference, Europe’s largest housing festival. The event took centre stage at Manchester Central, bringing together industry experts, policymakers, and innovators from across the UK. Over three days, it showcased best practices, technologies, and strategies to address the pressing challenges within the housing sector.

As an exhibitor at this prestigious event, GrantFinder had the opportunity to network with industry experts and demonstrate our funding solutions, showcasing our database of thousands of grants and loans.

Key themes discussed:

Unlocking net zero

Net zero targets and decarbonisation were among the main overarching themes of the event. Delivering liveable, carbon free places continue to be the primary focus for the sector moving forward. Delegates discussed learnings from how the wider built environment can decarbonise at scale, as well as collaboration on how communities can be involved in delivering greener and healthier places to live and work.

Funding the significant costs of decarbonisation is hindering progress towards achieving net zero. Inside Housing reported that the current cost to retrofit all social homes in the UK is over £100 billion. The cost of living crisis has also put additional strain on housing providers. However, it was recognised that investing in carbon reduction now will lead to cost savings in the long-term. Alternative finance options such as retrofit credits and green finance, as well as government funding, were discussed as potential support to providers to ensure net zero remains a top priority.

Cost of living & fuel poverty

The rising cost of living was a prevalent topic throughout the keynote sessions. Supporting tenants experiencing fuel poverty and addressing its impact on mental and physical health is a growing concern for the sector.

Housing providers are seeking solutions to better track and understand those experiencing or at risk of fuel poverty, and to offer meaningful support. Our GrantFinder team shared their expertise and insights on how we contribute to the solution by enabling quick and easy access to hundreds of fuel grants that help housing providers support their local communities with rising energy costs. Additionally, the team spoke with attendees about the many tenant support grants available, as well as dedicated mental health and wellbeing funding programmes identified through our funding database.

Sustainability & retrofit

Local authorities and housing providers were urged to reframe their understanding of housing within the context of the UN sustainability goals. Providers were encouraged to align their future development plans with the UN sustainability pillars, creating affordable housing that delivers benefits in health, education, and economic opportunities.

Changing behaviours and engaging communities were highlighted as important factors in transitioning to a sustainable future. Discussions centred around implementing education tools to equip tenants and residents with the knowledge to use new home technologies, as well as simplifying climate change communications for harder to reach groups. Normalising retrofit work within communities was emphasised as a crucial step forward in advancing sustainable housing.

GrantFinder enjoyed engaging in the in-depth discussions and presentations that addressed the critical challenges facing the housing sector, as well as the collective efforts of the industry to tackle them. As a leader in funding solutions, the GrantFinder team shared our expertise and insights on how we contribute to helping housing providers access financial support.

Through live demos, our team demonstrated how our funding solution offers unique benefits to our customers. With a database of nearly eight thousand funding opportunities, we showed how quick and easy it is to find relevant funds for attendees – whether it was for one of the hundreds of UK Shared Prosperity funds for local communities or dedicated support for the purchase of energy efficient products. Requests for equipment support, such as funding for drones, were popular, and our team provided live demonstrations of the keyword search function on our dynamic database, which returned an array of funding options within seconds and received positive feedback.

Housing 2023 was a fantastic opportunity to participate in insightful conversations with housing industry leaders and showcase how our innovative solutions can support local authorities and housing providers in addressing the key themes highlighted by the event, shaping the future of the sector.

(This report was the subject of a GRANTfinder Newsflash.)