More than 22,000 new homes needed every year to tackle homelessness in North West

Date published: 06 December 2018

More than 22,000 homes need to be built in the North West every year to address the region’s urgent housing shortage and tackle rising levels of homelessness.

According to a new report from Crisis, the national homelessness charity, around 15,000 homes were built in the North West last year, compared to the 22,600 homes the region needs. With house-building falling well short of what is required, hundreds of people simply have no way of finding somewhere to live and are being forced into homelessness.

The country’s chronic shortage of social homes, in particular, is preventing homeless people from getting back on their feet. Crisis research released in May shows that England needs to build 90,000 homes for social rent every year for the next 15 years, in order to meet demand amongst both people who are homeless and the broader group of people on low incomes, many of whom are at risk of homelessness.

Just over 2,500 homeless families and individuals in the North West are stuck in temporary accommodation, according to the latest government data. Almost one in seven of these households are living in B&Bs, one of the most precarious forms of temporary accommodation.

The research, conducted by Heriot-Watt University, calculates how many homes are needed to address the existing shortage of houses, as well as future demand.

Simply building the right number of homes each year will not solve the crisis – they need to be the right type of homes. The report has found that in the North West around 11,000 of the new homes needed each year, 48% of the total, must be affordable homes for people on the lowest incomes – and the largest chunk of this must be social housing.

However, just over 3,600 affordable homes were built in the North West last year.

Of the 11,000 affordable homes needed every year, roughly:

  • 4,300 should be for social rent
  • 3,300 should be for intermediate affordable rent[iii]
  • 3,300 should be for shared ownership

The report also finds that only half of people under the age of 40 in the north of England can afford to buy a home. One in three under-40s can only afford to live in the region if they live in social housing.

Crisis is calling on the government to invest in the homes that England urgently needs, especially homes for social rent, to ensure that people on the lowest incomes have somewhere secure and stable to live.

The research builds on findings about England’s housing shortage at a national level, which was released by Crisis earlier this year, showing a total backlog of four million homes.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “It’s heart-breaking that in this winter weather thousands of people across the North West have to sleep on our streets, stay in tents, live in hostels, and experience other forms of homelessness. Many people are stuck in these terrible and often dangerous situations simply because there isn't enough affordable housing, particularly social housing.

“Christmas is around the corner, and this can be a particularly hard time for homeless people. While others are celebrating with family and friends, many homeless people face a daily struggle just to stay safe, escape the cold, and feel connected to others. This is all the worse when there are proven solutions that can end homelessness for good.

"This is can't go on - the government must build housing that people who are homeless or on low incomes can afford and access, because we all deserve a safe place to call home."

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