Social homes are good for us!

Social homes are good for us!

Social homes: for thriving communities and safer streets

Not having a secure place to call home creates all types of instability. Not just for us as individuals and our families, but for the streets, neighbourhoods and cities we live in, too. Communities that used to exist with more secure housing have broken down. Instability breeds individualisation, isolation and loneliness. This in turn is bad for us and wider society.

Housing insecurity and homelessness fracture communities and drive up crime rates. And not only this, but the government is actually passing laws that criminalise homelessness. The recent Criminal Justice Bill contains new powers for police and local authorities to enforce against so-called ‘nuisance rough sleeping’ in England and Wales.

Street homelessness is not a lifestyle choice and people shouldn’t be punished for it. If the government wants to reduce homelessness, they need to provide social rent homes (the only type of genuinely affordable social home with rents tied to local people’s incomes) that will help solve the housing emergency.

What’s happening right now: the deeper impact of instability

The extreme shortage of social homes in England has forced many into insecure housing, with 172 families a day served a ‘no fault’ eviction notice in the private rented sector. And due to spiralling private rents, we’re seeing a record number of families and children growing up homeless in temporary accommodation.

The lack of secure and genuinely affordable housing options rips apart communities and weakens the social bond that holds them together.

Being homeless in temporary accommodation can be terrifying. According to our recent survey, we found that one in eight people who are homeless in temporary accommodation feel unsafe due to living with criminal activity. One in ten feel unsafe due to experiencing physical violence, threats of violence or verbal abuse.

Families in temporary accommodation are frequently moved around, which has forced thousands of children into permanent instability. They must leave familiar neighbourhoods where they feel safe and have the support of extended family and good friends. Instead, they enter new, scary environments and unfamiliar schools.

As well as disrupting children’s education and holding back their progress at school, this can put them at greater risk of crime, violence and grooming by organised criminal gangs who exploit young people’s search for stability and belonging.

Building foundations for a better future

Just think about the difference a thriving community can make. If you lived on the same street for many years, you’d likely be part of a community that would look out for you, and you would do the same.

Kids playing together after school on your street, your neighbour offering to babysit, people checking in on older residents. Or even something as simple as having someone make you a cup of tea or walk your dog when you’re under the weather.

A support network is important for all of us. But especially so for vulnerable people or people with complex needs, where a compassionate, stable and thriving community can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

To build a better future where everyone has the foundation for a productive and happy life, people need a decent, safe and genuinely affordable place to call home.

Only social rent homes offer secure, long-term tenancies that families and individuals desperately need. Building a new generation of social homes will help our communities to flourish.

Final thoughts

Too many people have been left with little control over where they live and for how long. Trapped in dangerous living situations. Pushed into unsuitable, unsafe and insecure housing, or forcibly moved away from their communities. Impoverished by rising housing costs, no-fault evictions and homelessness.

Investing in a new generation of social rent homes will provide the safety and security we need to build back our communities, addressing societal issues such as crime and violence at their root to create thriving new neighbourhoods.

Our open letter demands that political leaders build social housing and create a fairer renting system if they want our votes in the next general election. Add your name and join the fight to end the housing emergency.