The importance of social housing in the face of the cost of living crisis

The importance of social housing in the face of the cost of living crisis

In 2018 the UK’s national charity for people experiencing homelessness, Crisis, published a long term strategy for UK Governments to aid in ending homelessness. An integral part of the ‘everybody in’ plan was to build more social housing. 

Four years on from that proposal we’re still seeing criticisms aimed at the government for the lack of social housing in the UK. It’s estimated that there are more than 274,000 people are currently homeless right now, and with the cost of living soaring as well as more people experiencing fuel poverty, more people are being pushed into financially vulnerable positions and the need for social housing is higher than ever before, but how can social housing be used to aid against the cost of  living crisis? 

Here are three ways that social housing can help: 

Affordable rent prices 

Currently, the UK is seeing the fastest rent rise it has seen in the last five years, with no evidence that wages will increase to match. With an increase in rent prices already exacerbating the higher costs of living as well as cuts to universal credit, many people fear the possibility of being evicted from their homes and being left to relocate away from their communities or without a safe place to live. When tenting a social housing property, the rent prices you will pay is below market rate, meaning even those on low incomes are more likely to be able to afford their rent. 

Throughout the UK, people are being ostracised because of the high rent fees and the possibility of owning a house or even private renting is inconceivable for a lot of the population. Social housing is an affordable solution for those on low incomes and also provides a platform for unemployed and homeless people to live securely when finding a job. 

Social housing is more affordable than private renting since residents pay the housing associations or local authorities who act as the landlord.

Security against evictions 

For many who are affected by the skyrocketing living costs and increased unemployment, keeping up with rent payments can become difficult and the fear of eviction is ever present. Social housing provides further protection for the residents against evictions as they usually provide more secure, long term tenancies and residents have greater tenancy rights. 

Rather than having a private landlord, housing associations or local authorities will act as the landlord for the properties and will generally provide a rent price set around a 50% reduction of local market rent. These rates are much more affordable and are better suited to those who do not have a stable income and struggle to keep up with private renting payments. 

High quality, economical properties can reduce the risk of fuel poverty

Social housing also can provide high quality accommodation while also having a focus on sustainability.  Some properties are redeveloped by property developers like National Housing Group who make eco-efficient and sustainable changes to homes. This can include using sustainable energy sources like solar, and appliances such as low energy lighting, to even improved insulation and eco radiatiors. Solar panels are installed on some properties and the energy produced can be fed back into the property. 

With energy bills increasing, many more are struggling to cope with fuel poverty. Fuel poverty occurs when residents are no longer able to afford energy, and adequately stay warm in their homes. Making changes like these, while they might seem small can help to reduce the cost of energy bills.  

At NHG, we encourage any Government action taken to help increase social housing available to help fight against the housing crisis and homelessness. Social housing is a saviour for many in the UK who simply cannot afford private renting. The housing crisis is a serious issue that will affect the whole nation however those in the most vulnerable position, on the waiting list for UK public housing will always be affected the worse and need to be made a priority.