HARA has written to the Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF) inviting the NHF to advise housing associations to start renting their 7,000 unsold new homes at social rent levels.
Housing associations currently have some 7,000 unsold homes for market sale or shared ownership on their hands, according to the trade magazine, Inside Housing (1).
Meanwhile, Shelter says that the waiting lists for social homes top 1.2 million households (2).
These figures of bulging waiting lists and stockpiled homes belie the fiction that housing associations are providing ‘affordable’ housing for poorer households.
Polly Neale the Chief Executive of Shelter warns (2) of the impact of six million people without decent housing:
‘I believe the insecurity, despair and hopelessness experienced by the six million people….feeds the divisions that threaten to stop our country in its tracks, condemn us to decades in which we fail to achieve our full potential. The answer is social housing…..the right to a home is like the right to health care, not the right to an ambulance.’
At the same time, the NHF has recently ‘welcomed’ the Government’s proposed above-inflation rent increases for tenants, due to start in April 2020. They said that the rent increases in 2020 can help ‘leverage significant private finance to invest in building new homes’ (3).
The NHF should not be encouraging housing associations to plough on with rent increases that will plunge more tenants into the poverty and benefits trap, while stockpiling out-of-reach homes.
This is not a policy – it is an ideology that is known not to work……