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A Social Return on Investment (SROI) Analysis for the project "Starthilfe Wohnen. Ein Projekt des Armutsnetzwerks Vöcklabruck"

Olivia Rauscher, Ina Pervan-Al Soqauer

The NPO competence centre of the University of Economics of Vienna was tasked by Coca-Cola Austria with the Evaluation of the project "Initial Housing Aid - a project of the Vöcklabruck poverty network”. The project was awarded the first prize in 2010 under the initiative "Ideas against Poverty". The "Ideas against Poverty" innovation prize was initiated in 2007 by Coca-Cola Austria together with "Der Standard" and the NPO competence centre. Its aim is to support the implementation of projects in the area of poverty alleviation and prevention in Austria by an initial financial aid.

The evaluation was done by way of a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis with the goal of assessing the added value for society generated by the project in an as comprehensive as possible manner. The method is intended to measure, aside from the financial effects, explicitly also the social effects of the project. The present analysis is based on the model developed by the new economic foundation (nef), which principally means that, in a first step, the most important stakeholders and their objectives must be identified. After that, the input invested is compared with the output achieved and the outcome per stakeholder in an impact value chain. Subsequently, the outcome must be translated into suitable indicators, which in turn must be corroborated by data so that, in the end, the SROI value can be calculated.

The "Initial Housing Aid" project makes it possible and easier for people affected or threatened by poverty to get access to housing. Repayable subsidies of up to EUR 2 000.- are granted to improve the life situation of the affected people. This type of starting aid is a micro loan in that the people making use of it fully maintain their rights and obligations as citizens to promote empowerment.

This analysis principally refers to the year 2011 and covers only the "Initial Housing Aid" project, not the entire Social Centre Association. The project was initiated in October 2010. In 2011, 81 starting subsidies were granted to support 103 adults and 101 children. When comparing the generated total impact of € 336 653 with the investment amounting to € 76 349, a Social Return on Investment value of 4.41 results. This means that every invested Euro created effects equivalent to the monetised value of 4.41 Euros.

Within the framework of the sensitivity analysis, a scenario was calculated that was to demonstrate the effects of a better school education, which would be possible thanks to the better housing situation, of only one student in respect of the SROI value. If the value of a higher education level of a student is calculated and included in the analysis, the SROI value increases significantly to 9.11.

In summary, "Initial Housing Aid" is a very successful project that produced effects that, in relation to 2011, were more than four times as high as the investment made.

Corresponding Author:

Olivia Rauscher, NPO Competence Center, Nordbergstraße 15, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Email: olivia.rauscher@wu.ac.at

The entire study is available in German at http://www.wu.ac.at/npo/competence/research/abgeschlforsch/starthilfe_wohnen