The challenge we face
Everyone agrees that the country is facing a major housing crisis. It is particularly acute in London and the South East of England.
- Some 1.15 million people are on housing waiting lists across the country – 100,000 of them for over five years, and tens of thousands for over a decade.
- Rough sleeping and homelessness continue to rise – nearly 5,000 people slept rough on any one night in England in 2017. Shelter estimates up to 300,000 are currently homeless or living in insecure accommodation.
- It’s more and more difficult for vulnerable people to secure a decent home from a private landlord, with many turned away for receiving benefits or because of previous rent arrears.
- In-work homelessness is rising – more than half of families living in temporary accommodation in London last year were in employment.
- First-time buyers in London can now expect to pay a staggering 13 times their salary for their first home.
Whether it’s to rent or to buy, the cost of housing in the capital is unaffordable for lots of people. In many parts of London the average rent for a two-bedroom flat is well over £1,500 per month, while the average value of a home is nearly £500,000. This can be devastating for families and is having a knock-on effect on London’s social, cultural and economic success.
Whatever their financial circumstances, Londoners are vital to the city’s continued prosperity and growth, so we need a permanent supply of quality, genuinely affordable homes in London.
Stepping up to the challenge
To tackle these problems, we need to build more homes.
The Mayor estimates London needs an extra 66,000 homes a year – double the current rate.
We need more truly affordable homes for those in the most acute need. We need to help people on low incomes with secure, long-term accommodation. And we need to support the next generation to get their first foot on the housing ladder.
Housing associations receive public funding from the Mayor and government, but funding cuts in recent years have had a big impact. We’ve had to adapt to find the funds we need to keep delivering affordable homes.
We have built more homes for private sale and rent to cross-subsidise social and affordable homes.
But higher grant levels and bigger funding programmes will be needed in the long term to meet our objectives.