Britain needs not only more affordable homes, but more accessible homes as well
My wife and I are council house tenants. She has Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and I am her full time carer.
Generalisations about people in our position are really unhelpful. They create immediate preconceptions about the environment social housing tenants live in. They ignore the years we both spent owning our own home, when we still fell under the meaningless classification of “hard-working taxpayers”.
The failure to build enough homes is making things much more difficult for an increasing number of people. First-time buyers and renters are particularly badly hit. Not addressing supply especially affects groups that need extra support and who need accessible housing, which falls further by the wayside as supplying just any kind of housing takes priority.
All political parties need to focus on realistic policies to address this shortfall in creating more homes. Voters need to be given positive, realistic solutions for all tenures. Even for those of us brought to an interest in housing by negative factors – for me the bedroom tax, a policy that does not take into account our circumstances or those of many others affected – need to be given hope that there’s a better way to balance housing supply to meet a range of needs.
Beyond the circus of home ownership, some of us want to live in places we think of as our homes, though we may not want, or cannot afford to buy them.
For our part, my wife and I have a stake in supporting the provision of more social housing, in the manner the SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat) campaign embodies. As the Homes for Britain campaign shows, approaches that tinker with demand in housing are not working, and are actively making things worse.
Other contributors to this blog have and will focus on how to solve the housing crisis but we must also examine why it’s important. Britain must address the shortfall in supply, and that supply must include accessible homes, and homes that people across all tenures can afford to live in.
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