According to the Chartered Institute of Housing, the government should set a national target for house construction and build more homes for social rent to help address the housing crisis (CIH).
Grainia Long, chief executive of Housing 2014, said today at the organization’s annual conference and exhibition in Manchester that the government must work with housing professionals to address the growing inequality in our housing system.
Long urged the government to take a more direct and active role in housing supply and to establish a national target for house construction.
“The housing market has become a driver of disadvantage and a barrier to improving life chances,” she stated. In our housing system, the divide between haves and have-nots is widening all the time.
“Three-quarters of people believe it will be more difficult for their children to find an affordable home than it has been for them.” More and more children are living in temporary housing, despite the fact that we all know that this is a terrible way to start a child’s life.
“We have a generation of young people who are unable to obtain housing that meets their needs at a reasonable cost.” And the income disparity between tenures is widening.
“If one of our primary goals as a society is to leave the world a better place for future generations, we must act now to address inequalities in our housing system and the housing crisis.”
“The government must be steadfast and defend the need to increase supply,” she added. According to our polling, the public recognises the importance of development in resolving the housing crisis. Resist the urge to cave in to the anti-development lobby, and the profession will support you all the way.
“This means a revitalised and expanded affordable housing programme that provides more new homes than we are currently building and a broader range of options.” And, yes, this implies a return to the construction of new homes at social rents. Not because we want to go back in time, but because it is a perfectly designed and proven solution for some of the poorest households.
“Affordable housing has a role to play, but it does not work for everyone in every location, and we should not pretend that it does.” The disastrous decrease in the number of new social housing starts represents poor policy – we are storing up problems for the future and must reverse this trend.”
She also stated that the industry must improve its offering to the middle market, including an expanded programme of low-cost home ownership, and she called for a mature debate on standards in the private rented sector.
She also urged the housing industry to be more daring. “As an industry, we have not been quick enough to innovate, and we need to up our game,” she said. We should all think about what we can do to encourage more innovation. The creation of a housing innovation fund by the sector to provide leadership, capacity, and a mechanism for testing new ideas and solutions has enormous potential.”
Long believes that the general election next year will be the most important in a generation for housing. “Our polling shows that the public is finally grasping the magnitude of the crisis,” she added. They are aware that we require solutions. Furthermore, they do not have faith in our political parties to solve the problem.
“So our test to all parties, is to build a housing system that works for everyone. As housing professionals we won’t accept anything less. And over the next few months as the professional body for housing we are taking that challenge to politicians of all parties. We will demand proof that they are heeding the profession and willing to take the bold steps necessary to change the housing story for good.”