“Generation Rent”: More Households Are Locked Out Of Home Ownership

RUNAWAY PROPERTY PRICES AND A LACK OF AFFORDABLE MORTGAGES ARE HAVING A HUGE SOCIAL IMPACT ON THE LIVES OF RENTERS.

This selection of recent articles in the UK press provides several windows into the home-ownership dilemmas facing renters as 2012 ends.

  • There’s a powerful Bristol connection as The Guardian looks at the issue in detail.
  • “No Place To Call Home” is a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which reveals the social impact of “thwarted aspirations and shelved ambitions” among frustrated young renters.
  • Between 2001 and 2011 wages increased by 29% while house prices increased by 94%. The English Housing Survey found that 12x as many private renters moved house in 2010-11 compared to moves by home-owners.

Want to know more? The Observer’s reporters have made readers’ stories available on this interactive map.

Got your own experiences to share? The Observer wants to hear from you via this online form.

Posted in Housing Benefit Cuts | Leave a comment

HOUSING FEDERATION INTERVIEWS

Staff at the National Housing Federation conducted short interviews with Bristol’s mayoral candidates who took part in the housing hustings on 25th October.

They were all invited to set out their vision for housing in Bristol,  answering the following questions:

  • What is your vision for housing in Bristol?
  • What difference can the new mayor make?

See the video clips here.

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WHAT ARE THE MAYORAL CANDIDATES SAYING?

Photograph from reporter Stephen Morris(via BristolCulture)

How do the mayoral candidates view the issue of housing need?

At the beginning of October we sent a copy of the report on the Housing Benefit Poverty Hearing to the mayoral candidates who were going to take part in the housing event.  With elections due in mid-November 2012, we believe that this issue deserves their urgent attention.

We pointed out that the Housing Benefit cuts have greatly exacerbated the current housing crisis in Bristol and will make it extremely difficult for anyone on benefits – including many people in low paid work – to obtain a private tenancy in future.

As this will be one of the key issues confronting the future Mayor of Bristol, we asked each candidate to explain what action they would take, if elected as Mayor, to:

  • Increase the supply of affordable social housing in the city
  • Introduce special initiatives to help young people at risk of becoming homeless
  • Ensure that Bristol does not have the dubious distinction of being the city with the largest number of people sleeping rough outside London (as happened in the 1980s).

The Candidates Reply.

The only response has been from Geoff Gollop OBE, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Bristol, whose letter appears in full below.

Thank you for your letter of 5th October and the enclosed report on the Housing Benefit Poverty Hearing.

The provision of affordable housing is too low in Bristol and I will ensure that the City Council opens up its surplus land and buildings register to all local housing associations to review and identify sites where they could develop affordable housing. I would look to having those sites developed in Partnership with those associations and with the City Council contributing the land as part of the partnership.

I particularly note your comments with regard to empty property and I would look to the Council paying a much more active role in forcing the purchase of unlet property. I would support compulsory purchase, and I also note your suggestion of voluntary investment in bonds, which I would look to support. I believe local people would willingly lend money to support social housing and other community needs.

I recognise that in matters of housing and homelessness Bristol has a great number of voluntary and community sector organisations who have much more experience and knowledge of the problems encountered by young people and I also agree that prevention of homelessness is better than dealing with the problems that arise afterwards.

I also recognise that Bristol needs to develop training support and jobs to ensure that those who are able to work and want to work are able to do so.

I also believe that the current means of measuring the number of homeless people is not acceptable and we need to establish a count for not just rough sleepers but those who do not have a regular place to sleep.

I summarise that my view is that we need to increase the provision of housing as outlined above, we need to help people to find work and have the ability to apply for and retain jobs where they can, but most of all we need to ensure that the City Council in Partnership with the voluntary and community sector is reacting to the pressures that arise. I want to ensure that the Council shares a level of compassion and understanding.

I conclude by thanking you for taking the trouble of sending me in a copy of the report and I hope you find my comments above are useful.

Posted in Bristol Homelessness, Bristol Poverty Action, Housing Benefit Cuts, Mayoral Candidates | Leave a comment

PLEASE SIGN SHELTER’S “ROTTEN HOMES” PETITION

Shelter launches Bristol “Rotten Homes” campaign.

Concerned about bad conditions in the private rented sector in Bristol? You may want to sign the petition in Shelter’s new Rotten Homes campaign.

The charity has added their voice to calls for Bristol’s soon-to-be elected Mayor to tackle poor housing conditions in the private rented sector. Currently one in five homes in Bristol are rented out by private landlords, yet more than a quarter of these homes don’t meet the Decent Homes Standard. That’s more than 5% of all privately rented homes. That means many renters in Bristol are being forced to live in unsafe and poor conditions.

To sign the petition and to find out more about the problem of rotten homes in Bristol, visit their website here.

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