Sunday, 30 August 2015

Leaders warn of worsening social housing crisis

Social housing leaders believe the sector is in crisis and the situation is likely to get worse.

Research from the Housing Leadership Foundation, which represents senior management in social housing, found 81 per cent of leaders think there is a crisis in social housing, and 97 per cent expect it to get worse over the next five years.

The findings are based on responses from 60 senior executives in housing associations and council housing departments across England, and were gathered last month.

The lack of decent, affordable housing was the biggest concern raised, and lack of funding was blamed for the gloomy outlook over the next five years.

The survey also found a lack of confidence in the government’s reforms to the social housing sector. Asked how the introduction of direct payment of rent to tenants might affect social landlords, 87 per cent said it would ‘make the situation more difficult’.

Fifty per cent said they strongly disagree with the social housing reforms, with a further 11.5 per cent saying they disagree slightly.

Respondents were more positive about the localism agenda, with 29 per cent strongly supporting the policy, and 44 per cent supporting it.

In general the respondents felt progress could be made by devolving service delivering to tenants. Ten per cent said service delivery could be devolved entirely, and 65 per cent said it could be devolved to some extent.

Seventy four per cent said social housing providers will have to take resident employment more seriously, and 69 per cent thought residents could get involved in managing anti-social behaviour.

The conclusion to the report states: ‘Communities need to be mobilised to help themselves do more with less and take back responsibility for their young people and unemployed.

‘This has to be done in a way that protects minorities, resists the influence of narrow interests and the settlement of grudges but it can be done, it is being done, with the help of social housing professionals across the nation.’

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