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What does the Welsh public think of social housing?

An opinion poll asking Welsh voters what they think of social housing finds strong support for its role but also some worrying public perceptions.

Homelessness and housing was ranked fifth in importance as a political issue in an opinion poll for the Tyfu Tai Cymru project by Cardiff University and YouGov launched at the CIH Cymru TAI conference in Cardiff.

Nominated by a quarter of voters, that puts housing behind leaving the EU, health, immigration and asylum and the economy but ahead of defence, education and the environment.

Housing was ranked fourth as areas for which government should be responsible, named by 60 per cent of voters, behind schools, defence and health but ahead of public transport.

And asked to choose between health and housing as the recipient of extra public spending, the majority said health but significantly a third supported housing.

Asked who should be helped with housing, 72 per cent of respondents said rough sleepers, followed by people in temporary accommodation, shelters, sofa surfers and people stuck living with their parents.

People polled were also asked their perceptions of social housing, with 41 per cent saying they would never want to live in it and 52 per cent seeing estates as suffering from high levels of anti-social behaviour and crime.

Against that, 33 per cent said they would be happy to see more social housing built near their own home and 38 per cent agreeing ‘we need more social housing in my local community’.

Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University said there were clear differences in attitudes between home owners and private renters and people who have direct experience of social housing. Social renters were much more positive.

Respondents were also asked who they believe lives in social housing , with most saying people on low incomes (75%) single mothers (67%)  and inmigrants and asylum seekers (49%) but only 28 per cent saying retired people.

Asked if they see housing as a career for themselves or a family member, people ranked it below the other options quoted  – but they were not asked about other careers like social work.

CIH Cymru’s Tyfu Tai Cymru is a five-year policy project seeking to address gaps in evidence to inform current and future housing policy in Wales funded by the Oak Foundation

Matt Dicks, director of CIH Cymru, said:  ‘This survey marks the start of a really exciting time at CIH Cymru. Our Tyfu Tai Cymru project seeks to bring housing policy to life, gaining the views of experts from the housing sector, local communities and beyond. Engaging the public in this way lays the foundations for the work we’ll be doing going forward.’

Catherine May, Tyfu Tai Cymru manager added: ‘Tyfu Tai Cymru will be working with people throughout Wales to find solutions to some of the most pressing issues of the day. This survey of over 1000 people tells us of the widespread sympathy for people struggling to find a decent home and the need for an approach to health and housing that delivers a sustainable approach for current and future generations.’

Here are some more highlights.



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