In official data for the full year BEFORE the pandemic social landlords were housing 17% fewer households each year than they were 5 years before.
The official CORE data for the first 6 months of the 2020/21 year then saw a further 40% drop in the number of households accommodated by the social rented sector
Facts such as these are irrefutable, inescapable and regularly overlooked as they prove the shit has hit the fan for efficacy of the social housing model in which social (sic) landlords like to claim they will always house those in housing need.
The official CORE data which forms the chart above reveals from 2007 to 2016 that English SRS landlords housed 383k new households pa reducing to 317k pa in the four years preceding the pandemic and 17% fewer households received social housing each year.
NB: The 187k figure for 2020/21 is a projection based on a 40% reduction in SRS lettings for the half year of April to September 2020 when 75k lettings occurred and due to the eviction ban being in essence a new lettings ban as I said and predicted here back in July 2020
The average duration of a social housing tenancy in England increased from an average of 129 months (10 years 8 months) over the 2007-2016 period to an average of 157 months (13 years and 1 month) at the end of 2019/20 and ahead of the pandemic impact and policies such as the eviction ban.
The longer the SRS tenant stays in a property the fewer new SRS properties that become available each year. The dramatic increased in the length of a SRS tenancy in England from under 11 years to over 13 years and in such as short space of time obviously means housing waiting lists increase and also obviates fewer properties being available each year to rehouse those who are homeless or in other housing / rehousing need.
Apologies reader for stating the bloody obvious yet it is the bloody obvious that has not been discussed or considered or even mentioned in any of the thousands of articles about what has become known as the “Housing Crisis” – a term bandied about regularly by SRS landlords and lobbies yet never defined.
In 2007 England’s social landlords offered up 19,000 properties to the CORE data category of “single homeless” which fell to just 11,000 in 2019/20 – a massive 42% reduction in rehousing the many single homeless cohorts such as rough sleepers, hostel dwellers and single childless women from domestic abuse refuges as just one manifestation of this data. Another is that 46% and almost half of all households on LA waiting lists are there with entitlement to a one-bedded property only and number 529,000 households of an individual or couple.
Both of these evidence a massive and chronic shortfall in England’s social rented housing stock of the one-bedded property for those below sheltered housing age which further evidences that the council and HA landlords who make up England’s SRS never bothered to build them in the 60 years of relative capital subsidy aplenty up until 2010 and reflecting the fact that single households had the barest of legal right to a social housing property.
The “Housing Crisis” that we have in England’s social rented sector is never defined as to what the need is for new SRS housing and whom it will be for if the funding is found by government. The repeated calls to “just build more bloody social / council houses” is inane superficial nonsense as while there is no doubt England needs more SRS proeprtie at the social rent level we need to look at real objective housing need and not at more properties of any size or type that only bolster SRS landlord profits such as the £6bn+ that England’s housing associations have made for the last four year
Instead the SRS itself deliberately avoids detail as the housing need is clearly for the one-bedded property for those of below sheltered housing age and England needs in excess of 100,000 x the one-bedded property per year at the social rent level.
Instead of using fact to determine housing need and chronic undersupply we have very vocal mouthpieces for the Housing First model which is entirely predicated on the one-bedded unconditional (that is SRS) property being immediately available when those properties do not exist in the SRS making the zealous clamour for the Housing First model as bound to fail and otiose.
The clamour for the Housing First model is laughable as the one-bedded SRS properties the model is entirely dependent upon simply do not exist. You cannot house somebody firstly when the houses are not there can you? Even the large scale Housing First pilots were bound to fail before they began as the Liverpool City Region has just 16% of its SRS stock being the one-bedded property when the English average is 26%.
How can the Housing First model ever possibly work in the Liverpool City Region when it has 40% fewer of the one-bedded properties the voraciously hyperbolised Housing First model critically requires to even attempt to work!
The SRS and its many lobbies choose to ignore irrefutable housing facts such as the CORE data mentioned above and carry on lobbying with superficial campaigns with pithy superficial slogans riddles with myth and assumption. While these SRS housing and homeless lobbies are allowed to get away with ignoring fact and advocating assumption and myth the crisis of housing need worsens and becomes ever more systemic and ever more structural a crisis that is ever more impossible to address.
In summary when the Social Rented Sector is allowed to ignore housing fact it consciously ignores any definition of housing need and England’s SRS and its multitude of lobbies have been allowed to ignore housing fact and housing need for far too long and themselves y their own subjectivity and discrimination have played a massive part in what we now call the “Housing Crisis.” More social housing is meaningless when it is owned and managed by increasingly asocial landlord types.