Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Homes at the Heart

An excellent campaign for a social housing led response to Covid-19 launched by the National Housing Federation supported by over 60 organisations (including the biggest UK Housing union UNISON)

1. No return to rough sleeping ● In the short term, we need to find permanent homes and support for those who are temporarily housed. ● In the longer term, our ambition is to end homelessness in all its forms. This can only be achieved by building more social homes and ensuring support services are properly funded – as we set out below.

2. A new generation of affordable homes ● In the short term, housing associations need certainty to keep building during challenging times. The government should earmark up to £3bn of the new £12.2bn affordable homes budget to support the short-term recovery, with more flexibility on the tenure of new homes and when they are delivered. ● In the long term, the government should use this year’s spending review to invest in a new generation of social and affordable homes to rent and buy. To kick-start this, the government should commit an additional £20bn in grant funding for 2022-32, creating a ten-year affordable housing fund.

3. Helping people to thrive at home ● Supported housing can transform lives – it can help people carry on living independently, improve life chances and help people manage through a crisis. It helps avoid costly hospital stays, prevents homelessness and supports employment. ● That’s why we’re calling for the government to ringfence housing-related support funding and allocate £1.4bn a year to local authorities. ● Supply of supported housing is reducing, when demand is increasing. So we’re calling for supported housing to be part of a new generation of social homes.

4. A new drive to decarbonise social housing ● Decarbonising Britain’s homes is an essential part of tackling climate change, and also saves residents money, boosts the economy and creates jobs. ● Housing associations want to be at the forefront of decarbonisation, but face challenges such as lack of finance and skills shortages. ● We’re working with our members to explore how we can work with partners to drive forward the decarbonisation of social housing at scale – and are calling on the government to provide policy certainty, set ambitious standards and targets, and deliver a Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

5. Change for communities across the country ● During this unprecedented time, people’s local communities have been more important than ever and housing associations will continue to work in and with their communities to help them bounce back. But the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the inequality that communities across England have faced for many years. ● We’re calling on the government to hold firm to its commitment to level up the economy with a new, long-term, £1bn-a-year investment in regeneration, targeting funding where need is greatest. ● The government can also empower local stakeholders to kick-start recovery, and should support housing and employment services to work together to boost employment.

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