BSRIA has commented on today’s announcement by a committee of MPs that have said that homelessness in England is a "national crisis" and the government's attitude to tackling it is "unacceptably complacent".
Tassos Kougionis, Principal Consultant – Residential, at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said:
“The increasing number of homeless people in England is very worrying. It not only indicates partial failure of preventing mechanisms, and potential lack of effective tools to combat the phenomenon, but also raises the question as to how housing policies can be best used to address the very basic human need for shelter.
An increase in affordable and social housing could be part of the solution. But we need to understand how these should be defined and how they address the different population needs. Our societies and communities cannot operate well without the right infrastructure and housing provisions in place. Housing problems can lead to societal issues – the two are interlinked.
It is clear that more social housing must be built – fast. It is crucial that the necessary housing must be built to standards that meet the needs of differing people, for example homes that are cheap to run. Also consideration should be given around societal integration of such populations, especially preventing isolation.
Providing genuinely affordable homes, both to rent and to buy as well as providing financial support to local authorities with acute shortages of suitable housing is paramount.”
In the recent Autumn Statement, government announced that the housing industry is set to receive £44bn in financial incentives to increase supply to 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, the biggest annual increase in housing supply since 1970. But, as ever, BSRIA stresses that quantity must not be at the cost of quality.
A Public Accounts Committee report found there were more than 9,000 rough sleepers and some 78,000 families living in temporary accommodation. The cross-party research said there was a shortage of housing options for homeless people and those at risk.
The government says it is investing more than £1 billion in the problem. Meanwhile, the number living in temporary accommodation has risen by about two-thirds in the last seven years. Some 120,000 children are among those without permanent housing, the report says.
To address this crisis BSRIA is staging the ‘Building Better Homes Faster 2’ event, part of its Residential Network events programme, on Friday 12th January 2018, from 09:30 – 14:00 in London focusing on the world of increased new homes delivery.
Senior speakers will cover a range of “hot” construction topics including considerations, challenges and opportunities arising from the sector’s commitment to delivering more, better quality, new homes.
Venue: Thomson Reuters, Canary Wharf, 30 Colonnade, London E14 5EP
The definition of homelessness under law includes rough sleepers, single people in hostels and those in temporary accommodation.
Since 2011, the number of people sleeping on the streets has increased by 134 per cent.