How it is
According to Shelter 6 million households are denied the right to a safe home, or are threatened with losing it. 4,750 people sleep on the streets on any given night and 90,000 households are stuck in unsuitable temporary accommodation, such as homeless hostels. This a rise of 38% in the last five years.
At the same time research done by the New Economics Foundation shows only one in five of new homes forecast to be built on public land and sold off are likely to be classified as ‘affordable’ and as little as 6% of new homes are likely to be social housing. More and more people are being pushed into a private rented sector that is insecure, unaffordable and unsafe.
How it could be
With financial support from government, councils work in partnership with communities to build genuinely affordable, low energy housing. Rent controls keep rents below 30% of local incomes and improved tenants rights means an end to ‘no fault’ evictions. People are able to create comfortable homes, build communities and develop a sense of belonging.
How we make it happen
This is our space to share ideas for how we can make the vision a reality. Please share your thoughts in the comments below and, if possible, links to existing initiatives.
1) Support the campaiging work done by organisations such as Shelter, Acorn and Generation Rent for improved tenants rights. Generation Rent’s 15 point manifesto includes calls for rent controls, public investment in safe, affordable housing, improved energy efficiency and an end to fuel poverty.
2) Understand the role land ownership plays in the housing crisis. This policy briefing from 2017 and a more recent report by NEF outline the challenges of land and capacity and provide a series of recommendations designed to put land to better public use, such as:
- Halting the public land sale and retaining land for public or community ownership and the development of homes suitable to community needs
- Genuinely strengthening compulsory purchase powers to help retain land value rises for public benefit
- Establishing a national land bank responsible for purchasing, developing and selling land for residential and commercial use
3) Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a way of ensuring that housing remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier. The Community Land Trusts Network provide funding, resources, training and advice for CLTs and work with the Government, local authorities, lenders and funders to establish the best conditions for CLTs to grow and flourish.
4) Community Self build projects can help groups of people in housing need to access affordable housing. As a group, provided that your members are in housing need, you are able to access funds via housing associations. The Community Self Build Agency is a good place to start exploring this option.
5) Find out how to make change in your local community. Citizens UK has local chapters and Housing and Homelessness is one of their priority campaigns.
Where it’s happening
Read about the councils quietly building a housing revolution. “The Stirling prize-winning Norwich estate is the tip of the iceberg: despite government cuts, local authorities are finding innovative ways to build housing.”
“It is hard to argue that housing is not a fundamental human need. Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.”Matthew Desmond