Housing is increasingly seen as the first social service: “Our homes are more than just roofs over our heads. They are a safety net and springboard to a better life.” Secretary of State: Green Paper – A New Deal for Social Housing
Traditionally, charities used to set up trading subsidiaries (as standard limited companies) where they owned all the shares in the subsidiary. This was in order undertake trading activity that wasn’t part of the charity’s objects/core activities
Charities receive a lot of benefits due to the special nature of their legal structure – it is specifically for organisations that are doing something charitable and intending to have a public benefit.
If you’ve decided to run your social enterprise as a limited company then you aren’t likely to be eligible for as many sources of funding as CICs (Community Interest Companies), and you’ll be eligible for far less than charities.