Social housing reforms 'bleak'

31 October 2011

Shelter has described as 'bleak' government proposals to reform social housing.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘The government’s response to our affordable housing crisis, both through these policies and those we have already heard on cuts to housing benefit, social housing investment and legal aid, has seen the poorest and most vulnerable in society penalised again and again in what begins to feel like a deliberate attack.

‘In contrast, the millions of people constantly struggling with their rent or mortgage and many of the truly fundamental issues, such as a lack of new homes, the astronomical cost of housing and the insecure private rented sector, remain totally ignored.'

Referring to proposals for ‘flexible tenancies' which would allow councils to offer fixed-term contracts for a minimum of two years, Mr Robb said: ‘From Shelter’s 40 years of experience in dealing with those in housing need we know that very few people go from homeless to self-sufficient within two years. The proposal for a minimum of this period shows the government’s naivety in how quickly people are able to get back on their feet, and we urge them to reconsider this in favour of at least a five year minimum.

‘At Shelter we see how thousands of people are already facing a daily battle to keep a roof over their heads. Every two minutes someone faces the nightmare of losing their home. Today’s announcements will add to the bleak reality already facing those most in housing need while doing little to solve our long term housing crisis.’