On 8th January 2019 Shelter published their Social Housing Commission findings. Our Executive Director Becky Elton responds in this blog.
We welcome today’s Social Housing Commission report by Shelter. At Changing Lives we know good quality, affordable homes are key to preventing homelessness. Shelter’s recommendations for 3.1m more social homes are ambitious and entirely achievable.
The report clearly outlines the systemic failures at the heart of the current housing crisis – under-investment in social housing, an increasingly unaffordable home ownership market, an unstable and under-regulated private rental market, and successive cuts to services, spending and the welfare safety net. Taken together this has resulted in more and more people using our services across the North – whether because of a housing crisis or the steps – like loss of services – that lead to it.
The key message from this report is that it is SOCIAL housing we need, not more investment in housing to buy, not more private sector rented homes. This is because the housing market has become so skewed to home ownership and houses are seen as assets to make money out of, that the market cannot provide for the people most in need. Social housing, funded properly, can and should exist outside the market, which has failed, as a huge number of people are priced out of a place to live. We must see housing as a human right, not as a commodity.
We applaud the Commission for thinking big and setting out an ambitious, non-partisan agenda for change. Shelter’s costed analysis shows how the £10.7bn investment required can be found, both through savings to welfare receipts and by the knock-on economic benefits we know come when a secure home helps people live a more fulfilling life. The Spending Review later this year is a real chance for change – we urge Ministers not to miss the opportunity and take it.
Shelter’s report reminds us why Changing Lives exists – to help people out of homelessness for good. We look forward to working with housing partners, councils and Shelter to fix the system and deliver housing which not only meets people’s needs but fulfils their aspirations.
The full report is available on the Shelter England website.