NHF reveals ambitions to tackle housing crisis

June 25th, 2014 Category: Local Authority & Housing

London’s social housing sector could see a surge in supply as politicians work together to find ways of dealing with increasing demand and low rates of house builds, claims the head of policy at the National Housing Federation (NHF).

According to The Guardian, Catherine Ryder told a conference on the future of housing that the government needed to be reminded again of the combined "contribution of housing associations to solving the housing crisis and building homes and communities".

She believes that, with adequate support from the government, housing associations could potentially double their provisions during the next 20 years. Her comments resonated with a report released by the NHF earlier this year, which claimed 12 million people – one in five in England – could be in social housing by 2033.   

The report – entitled ‘An ambition to deliver: Housing associations unbounded’ – claims 250,000 new homes are needed in England every year, but annual housing completions are not even expected to hit 200,000 until 2021 and the NHF claims there is already a backlog of supply.

Ms Ryder told the audience in London that eventually, the social housing sector could generate a joint annual turnover of £70 billion and build 120,000 new homes every year – a figure which still falls short of the number needed to meet demand.

Although the most vulnerable people in communities will be at the heart of the NHF’s plans, it is set to venture into new markets, aiming to provide homes for different types of individuals and families across communities. This could mean more housing is built to be sold or to allow housing associations to take on the role of landlord for the one in ten people living in the private rented sector.

The Guardian reported that Ms Ryder said: "[Housing associations] have a huge desire and ambition to do more, delivering homes for all parts of the market. We believe that by 2033 housing association will be seen as social enterprises… building and managing good quality housing across all income groups."

She feels that it is vital the industry does its utmost to tackle the misconception that housing associations are part of the problem, and advised that the sector needs to prove it can effectively tackle the housing crisis.

However, Ms Ryder added that the industry cannot do it alone, and insisted that the government needs to lend its support to the issue. She continued: "We are going to need some help with this," Ryder said. "This is something we think government can do. There's an absolute need for housing associations to make this contribution because if we don't, who will?"

The NHF is currently campaigning for the debt cap applied to councils to be lifted so they can start to build houses again. If this is achieved, it will allow for the faster release of public land for new housing.  

In the organisation’s report, David Orr, chief executive, said: “We are optimistic about the future and looking forward to embracing the opportunities and challenges ahead.”