More than eight million people don’t have a suitable home – we can, and must, fix this

Today we published new research revealing the true extent of England’s broken housing market. Our figures reveal that one in every seven people is directly affected in some way by the housing crisis. That’s 8.4 million people in need of a suitable home.

Kate Henderson is Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation

Kate Henderson is Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation

23 September 2019

It’s unacceptable that 8.4 million people in this country don’t have a suitable home they can afford – and that some even have no home at all.

For the first time, our research shows the broad range of ways in which people are affected, whether it’s people stuck in house shares or living with ex-partners, older people in unsuitable accommodation, or families living in overcrowded homes. We’ve also seen that this is an issue affecting every part of the country.

It isn’t good enough – but there is something we can do about it. At the Federation, we’re calling for significant investment in new social homes over the next 10 years. Our research shows that £12.8bn a year over the next decade would deliver enough homes – and the right homes – to ensure no one is in housing need.

Almost half of the people affected – 3.6 million people – would need a social rented home to meet their needs. Social rented homes are around 50% cheaper than private rented, contracts are more secure and many properties are designed specifically for older people or those with mobility issues.

We estimate that the country needs 90,000 new homes for social rent each year to meet these needs, as well as a further 30,000 for intermediate affordable rent and another 25,000 shared ownership homes. This would provide much-needed housing to people whose situations mean they currently can’t find a home that suits them.

In uncertain times, housing associations have consistently proven to be reliable and ambitious partners when it comes to delivering new homes. Our sector is already working hard to provide homes to some of the country’s most vulnerable people, but significant investment is needed to meet demand.

It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the housing crisis is the single biggest domestic issue we face. Our research shows that this isn’t just a question of whether people can afford to get onto the housing ladder – it’s about people who don’t have access to a suitable home at all. And as a sector we have committed to – and remain committed to – our vision of everyone in the country living in a good-quality home they can afford.

This week, we’re gathering for the sector’s largest annual event, the National Housing Summit. We’ll be discussing what needs to happen to make sure we deliver on our commitment.

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