Over 8 million people are directly affected by the housing crisis in England, living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes. In the first major ‘state of the nation’ report on the housing crisis, people of all ages and from all regions of the country were found to be impacted on some level, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF).
High house prices, rising rents and low-quality dwellings are just some of the main issues highlighted in the report, which also emphasises the chronic lack of housing supply as one of the major problems feeding into the housing crisis.
In the North of England, people are more likely to have difficulty in affording rent. Those in the South are most often affected by overcrowding, particularly in more densely populated urban areas, as well as being more likely to stay at a parent’s home, as they simply can’t afford to move out.
Overcrowding affects millions
Overcrowding was the greatest issue affecting those experiencing housing problems in England, according to the National Housing Federation. Over 3.6 million people faced this issue, affecting both young and old. For example, in some cases, children were prevented from studying, due to a lack of sufficient space.
Elderly and disabled people were found to be struggling to cope, due to many unsuitable homes existing in the housing market, with little to no sign of more houses being designed with the facilities they require. At least 400,000 people were also found to be either at risk of homelessness or were already homeless.
The report also highlighted the lesser-known issue of ‘hidden housing’, in which as many as 2.5 million people were having to opt for house shares, living with friends, parents or even ex-partners, because they simply couldn’t afford to move out.
Government urged to act
Kate Henderson, chief executive at the NHF, commented on the report: “Today’s research reveals the full enormity of the housing crisis – clearly, it is the single biggest domestic issue we face. The government risks losing votes if it doesn’t tackle the consequences it has for the lives of young and old alike, across the country.”
She concluded: “This crisis cannot be solved by tweaks around the edges of the housing market. What we need is a return to proper funding for social housing, to the levels last seen under Churchill. Investing in housing is a big win-win for the government – it would bring down the housing benefit bill, provide everyone with a secure and stable start in life and kick-start an economic boom, creating thousands of jobs.”
Earlier this year, the government pledged the construction of at least 300,000 new homes each year in England by the mid-2020s, as a way of trying to address the UK’s long-term shortage of housing, while the population continues to grow.