Zorana Halpin
Zorana Halpin

By Zorana Halpin

Our message to politicians? Build more affordable homes

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.

The solution?

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)

 

7 Responses to Our message to politicians? Build more affordable homes

  1. Martin Norman says:

    Another damning indictment of the absolute carnage that the tories, starting with thatcher (sorry but I cannot bring myself to use a capital letter for the surname, in my opinion it is inappropriate), who began the process whereby the very fabric of our society was torn away, right down to street level, and which also somehow involved the rewiring of generations of people to “aspire” towards home ownership. That’s fine – but those who mistakenly fell into the trap of buying their Council properties then became trapped, by virtue of having to sacrifice their previous principles of Union membership and fighting, as and when necessary, for decent pay and working conditions – both of which were fought very hard for in the Century before, so that the average working man and woman could enjoy a decent day’s work for a decent day’s pay,in more comfortable and above all safer working environments. Upon return from the day’s work, community members would check on each other, socialising frequently, and keep an eye out for the elderly and infirm who needed support. This was all replaced with a philosophy of ‘Just look after Number One’. Any profits made from the sale of council properties was withheld from the councils, or they were banned from spending it on new social housing to be made available for future generations as and when they needed it. A succession of governments since the 80’s,dabbling with disastrous boom and bust economic strategies has caused mayhem in this country, the bottom line being that there is now an extremely severe shortage of social housing in this country, which continues to grow at an exponential rate. The young couple with a child are told that they are on a waiting list for a council property which at best might result in the offer of somewhere to live after they have been waiting for a minimum of 6 years, sometimes many years more. Single people don’t stand a chance. The couple with the child that I mentioned a moment ago? Their only option of starting out on their own is to rent privately, paying a grossly inflated rent for somewhere that is barely affordable. The absolute irony of all of this? The property they end up renting, may well be an ex-council property, sold to one of the profit motivated buy to let owners who selfishly grabbed every investment opportunity they could in the 1990’s, which saw the start of rents increasing to ridiculous, out of reach levels for the working classes, now to the extent that yet again it would seem that a mortgage would be cheaper (don’t get me started on that subject!)…. The biggest irony of all is that the tenant has to apply to the local authority for financial assistance by means of housing and council tax benefit so that they stand a chance of actually putting a meal on the table and shoes on their child’s feet. It is scandalous and heartbreaking that in 2015 we are in this dreadful state in the UK, with the never before heard of reliance, which is increasing daily, on food banks, also indicating, to my mind, that unspeakable damage was started back in the early 1980’s by a group of ruthless so-called politicians who cared only for themselves and an elite minority who saw nothing else but millions to be made by exploitation in all but name of the Working classes who have no choice but to work for excessive hours every week, with the disparity between their income and essential expenditure to keep the roof over their heads and cheap unhealthy food in their larders, as well as sky high energy and commuting costs, again growing at an exponential and alarming rate. I hope and pray that in my lifetime I will see a reversal of the terrible damage done – I strongly believe that those perpetrators who started all of this damage should be arrested and tried for treason.

  2. Blue says:

    Three years i was in support housing in Plymouth house in Devon .never for gett the other people I lived with same boat. Wish for a place to sleep and a bed they called there own place.but then watched David Cameron came from rich parents some us never had that

    • Nigel Miles says:

      Hi. Being homeless at 63 years l can concur with what all have blogged at these injustices. My respite now is temporary accommodation with a family member.

      I recently spoke with a Green Party radical who believes even their policies do not reflect the need for homes in a civilised society using 1/6 of the converted resources of the Earth. Radically all who are homeless could be housed if we:
      1. Use 0.2% of a Finance Resources Tax (“Robin Hood” Tax of a general 1% tax on finance and banking resources) to build the 1 million homes we need currently ..carbon neutral and negative, homes, on 250.000 acres of brown field land AND renovate 500,000 homes available currently for such purposes which exist currently in urban areas throughout the U.K.

      2. Second Homes Tax. We have to band housing in this category separately in Council Tax appraisal; appropriate to local housing need In order to home local people.. This could be subject to local referenda under the Localism Act.

      3. Land Tenureship Commission. This naturally radical idea is associated with a transition policy of future societal development process of appropriate needs in how our land is used for the Common Good of our society. It is where the true market exists of need and not psychotic dys-evaluation of using land and people as chattel. In this situation new hamlets of 20 plus homes communally (watch the spelling to the meaning please) will be built to accommodate new families associated with direct and indirect community living for direct and indirect food production and ecological integrity maintenance of terrestrial resources. Radical it is but common sense compared to the current market and industrial agricultural methods which will become redundant in 39 years when economic petroleum oil will be non available. Indeed we will need to keep at least 60% of this from being used in order to grow food due to climate change associated with fossil fuel combustion.

      This has been a different and radical viewpoint promoted. Perhaps it is an unusual one. However debate will rage over it and many are coming to view this as one paradigm direction of transition which the majority will see as self evident.

      In Peace l send this to you and as my girlfriend reminds me that the Orthodox Church celebrates Good Friday today.

      Yours in hope
      Dr. Nigel Miles
      nigelmiles@hotmail.com

  3. Jennifer Brown says:

    We need more affordable social rented accommodation; not less by selling them off at discounted prices. Instead help social tenants to raise deposit to buy houses (affordable housing) in the private sector thus freeing up much needed social housing. This would be a win, win situation as wages have not kept pace with private rental or the ability of individuals to set up independently away from their parents by obtaining a mortgage to buy. Build affordable housing for social rental and also in the private sector for first time buyers. The government could also help individuals to buy older properties which are at the lower end of the property market if they want to leave social rented accommodation. The waiting lists for social housing is unsustainable and has been made worse by selling off and not replacing. In the long run it costs the country more. These decisions to sell off social housing are being made for political gain not to improve the housing availability or the needs of the vast majority of the younger members of the public.

  4. Sutherland Robin says:

    Did anybody else hear Camerons’ election pledge to sell housing association properties to their owners at knock down rates? I had trouble believing it the first time

  5. ebasarik says:

    This country should be called ”LANDLORDS KINGDOM” rather than ”UNITED KINGDOM”: If you have a spear house or shop to rent you are better off than having a master degree and work.

  6. Golasta miah says:

    I’m homeless living in a temporary accommodation with five kids,been homeless for over 10 years n been on the housing waiting list for over 21 years,now I’m affected by the benefit cap n the rent is so high,now the council homeless officers want to move me from tower hamlet somewhere cheaper.I’ve been living in tower hamlet all my life n all my family n friends live here as well,I’m a single parent n have disability problem,my daughter has scoliosis n has everything here,her education all the facility available here,my 12 year old son has speech n language problem n probably has ADHD,he is being seen by specialist,he gets really farastated scared every time we moved we have moved twice already n I can’t take it anymore we need to settle down in a permernant place now, i don’t wants to move from here n from away from my family.all the affordable homes being built here r rent so high it double then council property.i think building affordable home but rent should be cheap.we should ask for affordable home cut down the high rents.