Building for our future:
A vision for social housing

The final report of our commission on the future of social housing

Our commission came together after the Grenfell Tower fire to set out how to build a better future for social housing.

We can see the impact of the housing crisis everywhere, from the increase in both young families and older people trapped in unaffordable privately rented homes, to the increasing homelessness that scars our society.

Unless we act now, we face a future in which a generation of young families will be trapped renting privately for their whole lives, where more and more people will grow old in private rentals, where billions more in welfare costs will be paid to private landlords – and hundreds of thousands more people will be forced into homelessness.

Our commission recommends a historic renewal of social housing, with a 20-year programme to deliver 3.1 million more social homes. This will allow the benefits of social housing to be offered much more widely – providing both security for those in need and a step up for young families trying to get on and save for their future.

And we are calling for a stronger voice for tenants, and a new regulator working across social and private renting to protect residents and enforce standards.

Join us in putting social housing at the heart of the solution to the housing crisis.

I don’t know how I’m ever going to be better off. I’d love to live in social housing, but I don’t stand a chance.

I really feel that if I’d been in stable social housing for the last 10 years, I’d be in a position to buy my own home now. But it didn’t work out like that. Instead, all my money has gone on rent, moving costs, and fees.

What do we recommend?

Infographic outlining what Shelter recomends
Infographic outlining what Shelter recommends

What do we recommend?

3.1m more social homes

  • a historic renewal of social housing
  • social homes, providing both security for those in need and a step up for young families trying to get on and save for their future

Reforming renting

  • introduce a new regulator to improve standards
  • give social renters a stronger voice both locally and nationally

31,000 people took part in our Big Conversation

20 organisations submitted evidence, from the Local Government Association to mental health charity Mind

13 public housing debates were held across the country

16 independent commissioners came together from across the political spectrum, and with a diverse range of backgrounds

If we can’t be bothered to give a helping hand to those who need it most, then where do we stand as a people – and a community?

Very few people in positions of power understand what this experience is like. I doubt they’ve ever had to live in poor housing or know what it is like to feel invisible, like no one cares.

Today we are feeling the effects of 40 years of failure in housing policy. This crisis has seen a catastrophic decline in social housing, leaving millions in insecure and unaffordable rented homes – with home ownership an impossible dream, and increasing numbers of people tipped into homelessness.

From the Second World War up to 1980, we were building an average of around 126,000 social homes every year. Last year, there were only 6,463 new social homes.

The private rented sector is bursting at the seams – with many renters trapped in unaffordable, insecure homes.

If we continue as we are, only half of today’s young people are likely to ever own their own home – and a generation of younger people and many who are retired will spend their lives struggling with insecure, expensive renting. Over the next twenty years, hundreds of thousands more people will be forced into homelessness by insecure tenancies and sky-high housing costs. But if we act now, we can change this.

Housebuilding In England 1923 – 2018

House building in England