Only one social home built for every 192 households stuck on waiting lists

Posted 18 Nov 2021

18 November 2021

Only one social home built for every 192 households stuck on waiting lists

New government statistics on affordable housing supply in England released today show that between March 2020 and April 2021:

  • Just one social home was built for every 192 households stuck on housing waiting lists.

  • 5,955 new social rent homes were delivered last year, a 12% decrease on the previous year, and a decrease of 85% from ten years ago.

  • Only 11% of “affordable homes” built last year were genuinely affordable social rent homes.

  • In 150 Local Authorities (45%) no social homes were built at all last year.

  • Government grants paid for 1,492 of the 5,955 social homes built – just 3% of the total 52,100 ‘affordable’ homes delivered.

    Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The fact only 11% of “affordable homes” built last year were genuinely affordable social homes is beyond belief – especially when thousands of renters are edging closer towards homelessness. Building a few thousand social homes a year given over a million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists, just doesn’t cut it.

    “Every day our helpline picks up the phone to families desperate for the security of a social home. With soaring living costs and pandemic protections withdrawn, hard-up families are more worried than ever about how they’ll keep a roof over their heads, and food on the table.

    “This is exactly the time for the government to start putting its money into the right place, by building the only type of housing that’s actually affordable by design. Investing in sustainable social homes will give us the best odds of levelling up the country.”


Notes to editors:

Notes to the editor

  • The analysis uses DLUHC Affordable Housing Supply Statistics (AHS) 2020-21 live tables, this details the overall supply of Affordable Housing from all funding sources; direct grant, housing association or local authority borrowing, right to buy receipts, and those produced via developer contributions through the planning system, known as Section 106.

  • In 2020-21 5,955 social rent homes were completed, of which 1,315 were by private registered providers using HE/GLA funding, and 177 were from Local Authorities funded by HE/GLA funding (i.e. grant). This equates to only 3% of all Affordable Homes completed in the 2020-21 period.

  • In total 150 local authority areas have not completed any social rent housing at all in 2020-21 out of a total of 333 local authority areas in which data was recorded.

  • Shelter has also looked at the number of social rent homes produced using direct government grant (through the Affordable Homes Programme, or AHP) compared with the overall supply of ‘Affordable Housing’. This definition includes Affordable Rent which can be charged at 80% of the private market, and home ownership products such as Shared Ownership. When looking at the data in this way we can see that central government does not prioritise Social Rent – often the most affordable form of subsidised housing in the AHP – despite the level of acute need we see resulting from the housing crisis.

    About Shelter: Shelter exists to defend the right to a safe home and fight the devastating impact the housing emergency has on people and society. Shelter believes that home is everything. Learn more at