Help and support needed for "forgotten families"

  • Housing charity Shelter says that more needs to be done to support "forgotten families" in England.

    Shelter believe that a multibillion-pound programme to build shared ownership properties is needed to help the 1.8 million "forgotten families" in England. This is due to three-quarters of households earning £20,000 to £40,000 are now unable to buy a family-sized home and with a lack of social housing, they are facing having to rent privately or being stuck on the first rung of the property ladder.

    Even after the second part of the Help to Buy scheme begins next year, Shelter says that three in four families will still be unable to raise enough money to buy an average three-bedroom home.Symbol Home From Hands Isolated On White

    The charity has said that these families now need a "game-changing offer" which could be built on the shared ownership model, meaning that buyers co-own a property with a housing association. This differs from traditional schemes as new shared ownership properties should have prices pegged to local markets.  It will be available to families who can afford a 12% share, have consistent eligibility criteria and long-term political backing and be linked directly to a new supply of homes.

    If the there is a government investment of £12bn in the scheme, 600,000 shared ownership homes could be built which is enough to give almost half of England's private renting families the opportunity to buy. A new generation of shared ownership would allow families to find an affordable home of their own with an estate agent or mortgage lender from the high street.

    Shelter found that if the current trend continues then 25% of families on low or middle incomes will be privately renting by 2020, with many more likely to be stuck on the first rung of the ladder in homes that are too small for their families.

    Kay Boycott, director of campaigns and policy at Shelter, said: "Building the new shared ownership homes we desperately need is the only way to give thousands of families a stake in the stable home they want at a price they can afford.

    "So far, years of piecemeal policies and an alphabet soup of confusing schemes have meant that shared ownership has failed to reach its potential, leaving it nowhere close to meeting the needs of England's forgotten families. But for the many young people desperate to do what generations have before them and find a stable home of their own, a national shared ownership programme is the bold and radical solution we need."

    "Every day, Shelter's housing advisers see the consequences of our growing housing shortage, from those not knowing where they'll sleep that night to families struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. However, shared ownership won't work for everyone, and we need a mix of new homes, including desperately-needed new social housing." 

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Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "It was well-run, in a good location, and very useful.  I've only one suggestion; as the session went on it would perhaps have been useful for bullet points of general agreement about what should be in the sector response to be displayed and added to as the session went on, maybe on a flip chart. Regarding your response paper, I particularly like the answer you give to question 9.  In fact the general: "if it ain't broke don't fix it" response could be pushed harder." M.P. - Adref Ltd


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