Rosie shows why every homeless family is a tragedy
Rosie shows why every homeless family is a tragedy

Homelessness is all around us. But while we can see people sleeping in shop doorways or under awnings, that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

There are currently 61,480 homeless families in England who are not on the streets but are instead living in temporary accommodation, without the safety and stability of a home.

This kind of homelessness often feels like an abstract concept. We know these people exist from the official figures, but their lives are hard … Read more

Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights
Revealed – the true scale of affordable housing lost to permitted development rights

New analysis sheds light on the impact of a social housing get out clause in England. Our research estimates that urban authorities have missed out on over 10,000 affordable homes between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

In 2018, Theresa May promised a ‘new generation of council homes to help fix our broken housing market’. We welcome this, and the announcement of an additional £2 billion for housing associations to help deliver on it. With just under 6,500 socially rented houses delivered in … Read more

Letwin identifies the problem but misses the solution
Letwin identifies the problem but misses the solution

One thing that probably won’t feature in today’s post-Budget headlines is the result of the Independent Review of Build Out undertaken by Sir Oliver Letwin.

While the report might not provide headlines, it does deserve recognition because it taps into a singularly vital part of our housing crisis: the cost of land. This means Letwin joins a growing group who recognise that only by bringing land into development at lower values can we unlock better, faster, more affordable development.

This … Read more

The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?
The cap is scrapped! Where next for council housebuilding?

Last year, Theresa May used her speech at Conservative Party Conference to announce £2bn of new grant funding – the first money made available for building social homes since 2010.

Two weeks ago, the prime minister used a speech at the National Housing Federation’s annual summit to announce another £2bn of long-term funding for housing associations. At the time, we asked ‘Is Theresa May getting serious about social housing?’, taking stock of the many small actions May’s governments … Read more

Is the tide turning for social housing?
Is the tide turning for social housing?

Theresa May has often said fixing the housing crisis is her top domestic priority – no small feat for a government also tasked with delivering Brexit on a razor-thin majority. Some governments might have been tempted to leave housing in the ‘too difficult’ box, where it has been gathering dust for years.

But while we have yet to see the fundamental reforms and significant uptick in investment needed to get the country building genuinely affordable homes at scale again, May’s … Read more

London Mayor announces plans to boost affordable housing in Olympic Park
London Mayor announces plans to boost affordable housing in Olympic Park

Earlier this month, Sadiq Khan announced that 3,000 new homes will be developed across three new neighbourhoods in London’s Olympic Park. London’s Mayor intends for 50% of these new homes to be affordable.

In light of this announcement, we take a closer look at the record of affordable housing planning in Olympic Park, and consider what Khan’s announcement may mean for the thousands of households in need of social housing in boroughs near the Park.

Who was meant to benefit Read more
Permitted development: At what cost for the delivery of well-sized and genuinely affordable housing?

Last week, The Guardian ran a piece on a controversial conversion of offices into flats through permitted development rights (PDR). This article highlighted significant concerns about the tiny and sub-standard homes that are arising from the permitted development system.

Another issue, which we have previously flagged, relates to the non-existent contributions that these conversions are making to delivering genuinely affordable housing in England.

With flats as small as 13 square metres being created out of old office blocks, where we … Read more

An unlikely coalition for land reform
An unlikely coalition for land reform

What do Shelter, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the National Landlords Association, the New Economics Foundation and centre-right think tank Onward all agree on? Not much, admittedly. The world is round. Homelessness is bad. And we must fix the UK’s broken land laws to get a grip on the housing crisis.

Yesterday, this unlikely coalition published an open letter to James Brokenshire, the housing secretary. In it, we state a simple truth: ‘The root of England’s housing crisis lies … Read more

Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … Read more

Viability - winning here
Viability - winning here

Last week the government (finally) published the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). For us, the big test for this updated document was whether it closed the viability loophole.

The result – success. As Rose has explained already on this blog the new and improved viability system meets our tests of being:

fair; limited; transparent

While there is no doubt that the planning system in England still has some way to go before we can be sure that large … Read more

We closed the viability loophole
We closed the viability loophole

New planning rules released yesterday signal the beginning of the end for the viability loophole. Developers will now find it harder to get out of building the affordable homes we desperately need. We explain how.

Over the last year, we’ve been raising a racket about viability assessments. Since 2012, the viability system has allowed big developers to shirk their affordable housing obligations if they can show that building low-cost homes on a scheme will threaten their ability to make … Read more

The roots of the rural housing crisis
The roots of the rural housing crisis

Have you heard about the housing crisis hollowing out the countryside? This week, for once, the answer to that question might just be “yes”. The National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week has shone a light on a problem that is poorly understood and rarely discussed with anything like the urgency it deserves.

A vicious chain reaction

In many rural communities, the market for housing has become divorced from local people and their incomes. Homes are sold for as much as … Read more