Rethinking social housing

What is the purpose of social housing? Who lives in it? What is its potential? The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) believe these are some of the most important questions of our time. As our national housing situation continues to worsen, the future of social housing is rapidly becoming a question about what we want the future of our nation to be. After decades of change and challenge, which have transformed society and our sector in ways we couldn’t have imagined, the time has come for us to ask if we see the provision of a safe and secure home for everyone as an essential part of a modern, civilised society. And, if we do, what should that look like today?

Their Rethinking Social Housing project was established with this and other fundamental questions in mind.

Where do we go from here?

  1. Adopt a common definition and understanding of the role and purpose of social housing
  2. Ensure that tenants have a voice
  3. Increase the supply of genuinely affordable housing
  4. Ensure that everyone can afford a place to call home
  5. Make sure that existing homes and neighbourhoods are of good quality and well managed
  6. Challenge the stigma and stereotyping attached to social housing

CIH’s conclusion

“As we have demonstrated through our research, social housing has a unique and positive part to play in housing people, helping to create thriving, mixed communities, and meeting needs that the market will not. Done right it does great things. But, as we have recognised, it isn’t always the case that homes and neighbourhoods are well managed and well maintained and it’s important that we own and address this.

“We have made a number of asks for government here but it’s vitally important that the sector shows leadership and steps up with solutions without waiting to be told what to do.

“Taken together, the six areas for action outlined above provide a framework for the sector and government to move social housing to a positive and ambitious place.

“We must now reclaim social housing as a pillar of the society we want to be, along with free health care and education – and it must be at the centre of government plans to solve the housing crisis. And, having ‘reclaimed’ the role of social housing, we need to push on – creating an ambitious vision of what a plentiful supply of social housing can do help people thrive in communities that prosper. This is only the beginning of the conversation.”

You can read the full report here