The United Kingdom is in the grip of a housing shortage. And soaring rents, poor conditions and rising homelessness are the end result.
For decades, successive governments have failed to build the homes we need. By 2008, the number of new homes being started had fallen to its lowest peacetime level since 1924 – and house building has barely recovered since then.
This means that every year more and more people are being priced out of home ownership. It means rising rents and more people competing for every single home.
There are a multitude of groups who subsequently suffer with a lack of Affordable Housing. Namely, the families struggling to meet next month’s mortgage payment due to the cost of living and lack of wage increases. Then there are young families renting out a rundown property, wondering if they’ll ever be able to afford a home of their own.
Next are the children living in temporary accommodation, forced to change schools every time they move. The lack of affordable, decent homes is affecting families across the whole country. Here’s why:
Home ownership is slipping out of reach of thew majority of people: On average, house prices are now almost seven times people’s incomes. No matter how hard they work, it’s becoming more and more difficult for young people to save up and buy a home of their own.
Housing costs are hugely expensive: Many of the people on the housing ladder did so by taking out risky mortgage loans that stretched them to their financial limit. Now that the economy is struggling, people are finding it harder to meet their monthly repayments, often with dire consequences, such as reposessions.
More families are renting from private landlords: There are now more than nine million renters in private rented accommodation, including almost 1.3 million families with children. Renting can be incredibly unstable, with soaring rents, hidden fees and eviction a constant worry. Additionally, it can mean living in dreadful conditions too – one third of private rented homes in England fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
Levels of homelessness are rising: The ultimate impact of the housing crisis is the huge numbers of people forced out of their homes altogether. The number of homeless households has risen to more than 50,000 a year. Some of these households – many with dependent children – will then wait for years, sometimes in temporary accommodation. Furthermore, more than 2,000 people a year will have no roof over their head at all, ending up sleeping rough.
Girls and Boys of Great Britain are currently working with Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Private Investment companies and specialist Housing solution providers in finding alternative and affordable housing options. To continue its work we need continued donations and support services.