We aim to maintain financial strength at all times, as well as demonstrating financial probity and transparency. Thanks to the sound investments made earlier in our history and the rising property market in the West End, Soho Housing Association now has a financial position which enables us to borrow funds to support the provision of additional homes for the community. We remain alert at all times to economic changes.
Over the years we have also acquired a valuable commercial portfolio (mainly on the ground floors of our residential blocks) and this is an important contributor to our ongoing financial strength. These commercial units are well managed to extract the maximum return – traditionally providing around 18% of our annual income. Commercial income helps to subsidise social and discounted rents and also works towards servicing the debt we borrow, thus creating new homes.
We aim to continue our investment in properties in our core areas in central London, and ensure that all new acquisitions are financially viable. We will only dispose of properties that cease to meet the goals of our mission.
By securing other sources of funding with no lettings conditions attached, and by remaining independent, we are now increasing our power to make our own decisions about what rents we charge and whom we let our homes to. This provides more freedom to manage our assets, but also enables us to house people who are from, or who have links, including working for local businesses, with our communities and therefore creating more sustainability.
Nevertheless we will continue to seek out some developments where there are requirements and restrictions set by local councils, as we have a portion of existing funding which is already tied up in housing grant. After all Soho Housing Association would not have existed without such grant when it was formed.