Constructing homes, rebuilding lives

Amid growing calls for a widescale social house-building programme, research released this week highlights the true social impact of moving an adult out of temporary accommodation and into settled housing.

When one person is given a home to settle in and rebuild their lives, the social value created is at least £67,069, which the authors describe as ‘the currency of positive change.’ The value is, in addition to and interestingly outstrips, the fiscal savings local authorities achieve by avoiding expensive temporary accommodation costs, which the Chartered Institute of Housing and Centre for Homelessness Impact has calculated as being £7,760 per year per family (2021).

The UK is facing an increasingly stark reality due to years of underinvestment in social housing. The resultant ‘structural deficit’ in the supply of social housing has pushed public spending on housing benefits and temporary accommodation to a record high (more than £1.6 billion in 21/22). Frequently far from a temporary living situation, living in ‘temporary’ accommodation can significantly impact people, mentally, physically and financially, affecting all aspects of life, including their employment, education, social networks and wellbeing.

Consultancy’s Akerlof and Housing Festival partnered to undertake this Social Return on Investment (SROI) study to highlight the extent of the positive impact that high-quality social housing can have. The emphasis on the positive aspects of settled accommodation sets this work apart from other housing impact studies, which focus on the damaging impact of living in temporary accommodation.

By combining quantitative analysis with the testimony of those with lived experience, the Constructing Homes, Rebuilding Lives report paints a hopeful picture of lives rebuilt and value unlocked. In capturing and monetising the value, the research supports the case for the construction of new social homes at a pace.

Akerlof and Housing Festival join the call for the delivery of high-quality social homes to be made a national priority. They share this analysis to fuel the economic argument for unlocking the delivery of new homes and to challenge the wisdom of current viability models, which significantly under-value the true impact of new homes.

Jessie Wilde, Deputy Director, Housing Festival said:

This works shines a light on the fundamental purpose of housing. Traditional development models for social housing are increasingly becoming ‘unviable’. The economic and social impact of housing families in temporary accommodation proves this verdict to be untenable. Work like this is important in helping to evidence the broader value of high-quality, low-carbon homes, to inform investment decisions and unlock the life-changing benefits for future residents.

Ellie Jenkins, Partner at Akerlof said:

Understanding the scale of our potential impact is essential for making informed decisions that create more value for society. This research reframes the housing challenge, quantifying a social value that transcends fiscal savings and places a spotlight firmly on the people impacted most. We aim to inspire a renewed commitment to seizing the potential for positive change.


Download the full report here: Constructing homes, rebuilding lives – Analysing the socio-economic transformation: from temporary accommodation to settles homes


Notes to editors

About the Housing Festival

Housing Festival are a think-and-do tank. Their goal is to find innovative and scalable housing solutions, implemented, and refined in the real-world. They lead projects, initiate and convene conversations, and facilitate change working with experts collaborating to solve complex and wicked problems.


About Akerlof

Akerlof is a specialist consultancy that helps organisations in the built environment to deliver betters, not just goods. Responding to contemporary challenges with creativity and clarity, we work with ambitious leaders in both public and private sectors to offer fresh and objective thinking on how to deliver economic, environmental and social value through ESG and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).


Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Standardisation Research project

Sign up to receive updates on the Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Standardisation Research project, including information on the open call in January.

To understand more about how Akerlof collects, stores and processes data, please see our Privacy policy.

Jamie Hillier


With a penchant for tweed and jackets with leather arm patches, Jamie began his career as a quantity surveyor, before climbing the ladder to lead major projects for a Tier 1 contractor.

Eventually expanding his book collection beyond copies of SMM7, Jamie has interest in a broad range of subjects linked to delivering better outcomes for society and the environment.

His strategic insights on MMC and behavioural science have made their way into numerous government, industry and academic publications, including the Construction Playbook, Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030, the Platform Rulebook and the RIBA DfMA Overlay.

John Handscomb


Construction is in John’s blood. Learning from his father who was a planner and project manager, John began his career by working on some iconic projects in both the public and private sector.

As a procurement expert and integrator of new ways of working, John has pioneered the integration of platform principles, DfMA processes and supply chain within over £5bn projects in the last 15 years, for some of the largest building programmes in the UK. Despite his considerable expertise, John keeps it simple, communicating complicated ideas with ease and helping to equip the industry with new knowledge and skills.

Outside of Akerlof, John enjoys his executive role with technology start-up ScanTech Digital, spending time with his family, taking trips down the football, playing a bit of golf with friends and the odd pint. 

Our name is shared with George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

His seminal paper, Market for Lemons, demonstrated the devastating consequences of making decisions under the conditions of quality uncertainty and unequal information between buyers and sellers, increasing the chance of buyers ending up with a ‘lemon’.

This 50-year-old concept continues to retain parallels within the construction industry.

Through our insight and experience, we can rebalance this information asymmetry on behalf of our clients, levelling the playing field to deliver better outcomes.