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One in seven live in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes

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The housing crisis is now directly affecting over eight million people, according to a new study
One in seven live in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes

A new report published this week shows that 8.4m people are hit by Britain’s broken housing market, capturing the true breadth, scale and impact of the housing crisis for the first time.

The ‘state of the nation’ report on the housing crisis, from the National Housing Federation, reveals that one in seven people live in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home.

National problem

It also shows that the crisis affects people of all generations and in all parts of the country. They face a wide range of issues, from homelessness and serious debt to overcrowding and ill health, and many children are missing out on a fair start in life.

The report found that:

  • 3.6m people are living in overcrowded homes
  • 2.5m people can’t afford their rent or mortgage.
  • 2.5m adults are stuck living with parents, with an ex-partner, or with friends because they can’t afford to move out.

More people in the North of England struggle to afford their rent, while people in the South are more likely to face overcrowding or living with their parents because they can’t afford to move out.

Kate Henderson, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “Today’s research reveals the full enormity of the housing crisis – clearly, it is the single biggest domestic issue we face. The Government risks losing votes if it doesn’t take action to tackle the consequences it has for the lives of young and old alike, all across the country.

“From Cornwall to Cumbria, millions of people are being pushed into debt and poverty because rent is too expensive, children can’t study because they have no space in their overcrowded homes, and many older or disabled people are struggling to move around their own home because it’s unsuitable.

Greater demand for social housing

Almost half (43%) of those without a suitable home can only afford to live decently if they are in social housing – 3.6m people. Social housing rents are on average 50% cheaper than from private landlords, contracts are more secure and many properties are designed specifically for older people with mobility issues.

The research highlights that the actual number of people in England who need social housing (3.6m) is almost double the number on the Government’s official social housing waiting list.

Finding solutions

To meet the housing demand, the country needs 340,000 new homes every year, including 145,000 social homes.

The National Housing Federation, with Shelter, Crisis, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Chartered Institute of Housing, is calling on the Government to build these social homes by investing £12.8bn every year for the next decade.

It said this must include:

  • 90,000 homes for social rent
  • 30,000 homes at intermediate affordable rent
  • 25,000 shared ownership homes.

Henderson added: “This crisis cannot be solved by tweaks around the edges of the housing market. What we need is a return to proper funding for social housing, to the levels last seen under Churchill.

“Investing in housing is a win-win for the Government – it would bring down the housing benefit bill, provide everyone with a secure and stable start in life, and kick start an economic boom creating thousands of jobs.”

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