Outcomes map: Housing and essential needs

Housing, sufficient food, energy, warmth and clean water are essential needs. In this document, we break down the outcomes and indicators which can be used by social investors, charities, funders and social enterprises to measure the success of an intervention in housing and basic needs.

Housing is the need for safe, stable and appropriate accommodation that individuals have a right to inhabit. This overview considers the material need for housing, which includes emergency shelter, availability and affordability of longer term housing, and housing stability. It also considers issues of access to housing, standards of accommodation, suitability of housing for people with additional needs, and support with the skills needed to maintain a tenancy. Finally it considers the wider issues of tenants, landlords, and engagement with the local community.

The issue of homelessness is much broader than simply housing; according to Homeless Links, ‘there is a loose consensus… that homelessness is a symptom of inter-personal issues, and that providing accommodation alone is rarely sufficient.’ These broader issues are addressed in other overviews.

In addition to the core issue of housing, this overview also briefly considers the other essential material needs, which we define here as: sufficient food, energy and warmth, and clean water.

The issue of homelessness is much broader than simply housing

Charities and social enterprises provide a variety of services to meet housing and other essential needs. These include accommodation services, independent living support services, advice and guidance, help to access rights and entitlements, campaigning and research, food banks, and support to tackle issues connected to homelessness, such as mental health or employment.


This is one of 13 outcomes maps produced by NPC in partnership with the SROI NetworkInvesting for Good and Big Society Capital. Each map examines a particular issue area or domain, and aims to document the relevant outcomes and indicators that are currently being measured by charities, government, academics and practitioners working in this field.

Click here to see all the titles in the series.