William Eichler 28 January 2020

UK ‘haemorrhaging’ social housing, charity warns

A homelessness charity has warned in response to new Government figures that the UK is ‘haemorrhaging’ social housing each year.

The figures for 2019 show that more than 1.15 million households are currently waiting for a social home in England. This is a 4% increase on last year.

They have also revealed that there are over 17,000 fewer social homes than last year, as 23,740 were sold or demolished and only 6,287 social rent homes were delivered.

Even more social rent homes have been lost through conversion to less affordable forms of renting.

‘With over a million families in desperate need of social housing, it is absolutely outrageous that we are haemorrhaging thousands of secure social homes every year. These homes cannot afford to be lost,’ said Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity Shelter.

‘Homes are being sold off or demolished with no replacements built. All the while families are forced to live in overcrowded conditions, single parents are making the impossible choice of eating or paying the rent, and children are growing up homeless in grim B&Bs.’

Over the last decade there has been a net loss of almost 60,000 social homes through sales and demolitions not replaced, according to the Government’s figures.

‘Too many people are spending years waiting for a social home that isn’t coming,’ said Ms Neate.

‘The Government has said now is the time invest in the future – they must ensure a new generation of social homes is part of that future. With the budget just around the corner, housing cannot be ignored when the government gets its chequebook out.’

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