Our message to politicians? Build more affordable homes
4 Feb 2015
Today, 93,000 children in Britain woke up homeless. Why? Because there simply aren’t enough affordable homes. Whether you’re struggling to pay soaring rents on flatlining wages, an overcrowded family that can’t afford a bigger place, or know you’ll never save enough for a deposit on what you earn, the UK’s severe housing shortage affects us all.
So what happens when there just aren’t enough homes?
The short answer:
Finding somewhere to live becomes more difficult for everyone.
The lack of affordable homes in Britain today affects each and every one of us – whether we face rising house prices, unaffordable rents, or worry about where our children and grandchildren will live.
The long answer:
House prices go up and fewer people are able to buy.
Fewer homes mean more competition and rising prices. In the last 10 years, average wages have stayed the same while house prices have grown by over 60%. The average house in England now costs £283,000, whereas the typical wage of an ordinary person is just £22,044.
Fewer people can rent social housing.
Like homeownership, social housing is beginning to seem like a distant dream for the 1,685,804 people currently waiting for social housing. Yet, the number of houses built for social rent is pitifully low. This means a whole generation is being denied the affordable rents and security of social housing.
More people are forced to rent privately.
A third of families now rent privately. And lots of people renting privately means lots of competition. We hear all the time from families struggling to find a landlord who will rent to them, or to find a home with a stable, longer term tenancy. A mother of three came to us recently who’d been made homeless twice within the space of a year. This was because both her landlords decided they wanted their properties back and she couldn’t find somewhere else to live within her price range.
Those at the sharp edge of the housing crisis really pay the price.
Imagine losing your job, losing your home, and having no idea when you’ll find another place for your family to live. Imagine uprooting your children from their schools because the only place you can afford is miles away. Thousands of families don’t have to imagine. Because of the shortage in social housing, councils don’t have enough houses for the thousands of homeless families who are struggling to get back on their feet, often after redundancy or an illness.
The situation is so desperate that often the only homes available are over 100 miles away from their schools, their family and friends. Or they’re placed in run-down hostels, often a whole family in one room. Over 93,000 homeless children spent Christmas in temporary accommodation, waiting for a real home.
Politicians must build more genuinely affordable homes, where they’re most needed. Now.
This means ordinary people, on ordinary wages can afford homes in their local area: to rent, to buy and for shared ownership. We especially need to build affordable social housing, creating homes for the thousands of families who are homeless.
If we don’t build the affordable homes our country desperately needs, we will continue to condemn these families to homelessness.
Sign our petition now calling on politicians to fix the housing crisis and build more affordable homes.
You can read more about how the housing shortage affects us all here.
Market = homes to buy or rent at market prices
Intermediate = shared ownership homes, discount homes, or homes deemed to be at ‘affordable rent’ levels (up to 80% of market rents)
Social = homes at social or target rent levels (normally around 30 – 50% of market rents)