England: Three million homes required to solve housing crisis

Housing charity Shelter has said it will take an investment of £214 billion into the delivery of three million new homes to solve the social housing crisis in England.

A new report from the charity has urged minister to invest in a 20-year building programme and extend the criteria for who is eligible for social housing.

England: Three million homes required to solve housing crisis

It calls for 1.27 million homes for “those in greatest housing need”, including the homeless, disabled and long-term ill, or those living in poor conditions.

A further 1.17 million homes are needed for “trapped renters” (younger families unable to get on the housing ladder) plus 690,000 homes for older private renters facing housing insecurity beyond retirement.

A commission of 16 from across the political spectrum, and with a diverse range of backgrounds, was brought together by Shelter after the Grenfell Tower fire to set out how to build a better future for social housing.

Among them former Labour leader Ed Miliband, ex-Tory chairman Baroness Warsi, Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, TV architect George Clarke and Grenfell survivor Edward Daffarn, they spoke to more than 30,000 people, including social tenants and housing experts.

Shelter said upfront costs of £11bn a year could come from housing benefit savings by moving tenants from high-cost privately rented homes to social housing.

Existing schemes such as Help-to-Buy are a less effective use of taxpayers’ money, the report claims.

Shelter said: “We can see the impact of the housing crisis everywhere, from the increase in both young families and older people trapped in unaffordable privately rented homes, to the increasing homelessness that scars our society.

“Unless we act now, we face a future in which a generation of young families will be trapped renting privately for their whole lives, where more and more people will grow old in private rentals, where billions more in welfare costs will be paid to private landlords – and hundreds of thousands more people will be forced into homelessness.

“Our commission recommends a historic renewal of social housing, with a 20-year programme to deliver 3.1 million more social homes. This will allow the benefits of social housing to be offered much more widely – providing both security for those in need and a step up for young families trying to get on and save for their future.

“And we are calling for a stronger voice for tenants, and a new regulator working across social and private renting to protect residents and enforce standards.”

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