Why do English housing associations have 56,000 fewer sheltered housing properties today than they did in 2011? Housing for older persons has reduced by 18% since 2011 and boy is the proverbial going to hit the fan!
How can the demographic time-bomb which sees more pensioners and more pensioner housing need also sees housing associations reducing their housing provision for older persons by 18%?
The answer is housing association greed and abandonment of any semblance of HAs being social landlords. Housing associations deserve their correct name of private registered providers (PRP) as the facts show they are abjectly commercial and asocial landlords and the opposite of what they deceitfully claim to be.
- In 2011 PRPs had 320,846 sheltered housing properties in England and this fell dramatically to 264,594 by 2018 – a fall of 56,252 and almost 18%!
- In 2011 12.7% of all English PRP properties were sheltered housing and by 2018 that percentage fell to just 9.4%.
- Do you know that English PRPs now own and manage more shared ownership properties than sheltered housing properties? 266,157 shared ownership ‘products’ and 9.5% of all housing association properties are shared ownership properties.
- From 2011 to 2018 English PRPs increased their shared ownership properties by 59,824 while their sheltered housing properties fell by 56,252!
HAs have made their priority clear in filthy lucre over housing need of older persons and these PRPs will seek to cite government policy as explanation and the Tory government wholly forgot sheltered housing tenants claim housing benefit when designing UC as ‘explanation.’ There is some validity in that yet it is still a choice of housing associations to tell the pensioner to UC off which is what the facts reveal PRPs have done and still a wholesale abandonment of the pensioner and social purpose by housing associations. Filthy lucre over older persons housing need.
Universal Credit forgot totally about all forms of supported housing – which includes much of sheltered housing – when designing UC and from 2011 to 2018 the government tried to cover up this huge error with the LHA maxima cap policy to seek to cap housing benefit in sheltered and supported housing. In doing so the government made sheltered housing a financial risk too far for housing association bottom lines which does account, in part, for the dramatic fall in HA owned sheltered housing.
Yet however much that can be used as explanation by it can never be excuse for HAs, these purportedly social landlords, abandoning housing for older persons, abandoning social purpose and adopting a crass commercial route which is what housing associations have done. That is not and never can be called social housing
I have no figures for council landlords and their sheltered housing proportion yet HAs have 72% of what we term social housing in England with 2.8 out of 3.9 million properties so the huge EIGHTEEN PER CENT reduction in sheltered housing properties and abandonment of the pensioner is a very real issue and problem and one that is getting worse by the day, week, month and year. The Conservative policy of threatening the revenue funding older persons housing by its incompetent UC policy that was then exacerbated by the LHA Maxima Cap policy for seven years till it was abandoned is a major cause of what has now become yet another structural housing crisis of a lack of social housing for older people. Arses and elbows and crass commercialism over social purpose describe.
- How soon will we see homeless hostels specifically for pensioners?
- How soon will we see pensioner rough sleepers?
Those are two questions I thought I would never write yet however distasteful they are regrettably they have now become valid and pertinent questions due to the combination of Tory government policies and the commercial and asocial response of English housing associations to them in prioritising their bottom lines and abandoning the pensioner!
There is also calls this week for housing associations to be regulated by local authorities, and no doubt this will lead to arguments for housing associations to be nationalised and councils taking back control of the circa 1.6 million former council and thus public sector houses they transferred to housing associations and the private sector. Not before time but the urgency and tet the most important point is the indisputable factual data which shows just how much housing for older persons has reduced by the so-called social landlords of HAs / PRPs who account for 72% of English social housing.
We frequently see reports of pensioner food poverty, pensioner heating poverty yet never do we read about pensioner housing poverty – which is what we now have in England due to asocial landlord greed and has already become a structural problem that has gone unseen – a point substantiated as no projection of future housing need the UK needs includes or mentions more sheltered housign for older persons
The impacts of the 18% fall in older persons housing by social (sic) landlords will be and are horrific and that factual data matters and requires urgent dissemination and awareness at the highest political tables. I could detail literally scores of areas this chronic older persons housing shortfall will impact upon and scores more areas I have yet to think about. However, this data, these facts are not out there being discussed at all. I leave you with the official data below which has passed by the mainstream media and older persons lobbies and Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all and remind that this data comes from HAs to government. It is the facts by their own private asocial hands …
Notes and comments for housing actors and politicians:
I make no comment on HOW official figures reveal that there are 56,000 sheltered fewer older persons housing properties owned by PRPs in England. It could be that the properties have been ‘repurposed’ into housing for other client groups such as working single persons, a form of gentrification and greater income for PRPs, a better bottom line use of stock … or not. There are no answers either way that can be given for this 18% reduction as nobody outside of housing associations regulates any such activity and we have and always have had a regulatory deficit.
The only thing that is known and is factual data is the 56,000 reduction over this 7 year period and it is not any statistical aberration or rejigging. Housing association landlords (PRPs) have said and with absolute validity that the UC incompetence that led to the LHA Maxima Cap policy threat did mean new sheltered housing projects were shelved (and other forms of supported housing too!) Of that there is no doubt.
The apparent increase in other supported housing units this data shows could be and I wstrongly argue to be is reclassification not new build or conversions as the same LHA Maxima Cap threat borne out of the crass incompetence of UC design ignoring all forms of supported housing applied there too. All that is known is we have 56,000 fewer sheltered housing properties … and the consequences of that are horrific for the housing of older persons in a safe, secure and affordable home.
I am more concerned both personally and professionally of these horrendous impacts than in slating housing associations yet there is no doubt that HAs – more correctly and aptly called PRPs – have chosen the bottom line route over the housing need of older persons route and whatever % of blame should be accorded to them for that is of far less concern than the impacts this will have.
Receently I have criticised all estimates of housing need as being focused on number alone and all of them have no detail on WHO the country needs to build for. My detailed arguments reveal that the UK needs to build 100,000+ 1 bed properties at a social rent level just for single homeless persons of working age still hold yet now need that 1 bed number of social housing properties at a social rent level needs to be added to for pensioners / older persons. This makes a mockery of eg the Shelter Commission Report which says the UK needs 155,000 new properties per year and 3.1 million new properties over 20 years for all renting and ownership ‘client groups’ as a total aggregate figure – just as it does for ALL other new housing need estimates too.
UK housing actors be they landlords, house builders and politicians are severely deluded and crassly incompetent in their claimed estimates of new net housing property need and the so-called UK Housing Crisis that all of them talk of and discuss needs an urgent rethink and scrapping of all that has gone before. New housing supply needs to focus on WHO needs more housing supply not some pissing in the wind total figure – that WHO includes older persons housing as a chronic urgent need as these facts show and hopefully because it reveals how the acutely politically sensitive older persons groups (and votes) are, then something will be done because of that.
It really is time to wake up and smell the coffee!