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Making the Case for Housing

Making the Case for Housing

WHQ - Making the Case for HousingSo just why is housing so important? WHQ sets out the key messages from the Chartered Institute of Housing’s campaign to influence the English spending review process.

Background

Making the Case for Housing is a Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) initiative designed to set the scene for discussions about the next Comprehensive Spending Review. It highlights the work of the housing sector, not only in helping to deliver sustainable communities, but also in supporting a much wider set of Government’s socio-economic priorities such as raising educational performance, improving health and building respect. CIH believes that, at a time of continued pressure to spend scarce public resources on health, education and security, maintaining our investment in housing is critical if we are to achieve our mission of contributing to the well-being of communities.

Key messages

Investment in housing:

  • helps to reduce the cost of the NHS of bed blocking
  • saves police budgets by reducing anti-social behaviour
  • creates thousands of training and job opportunities for unemployed people
  • helps children’s educational performance by providing safe, warm places where they can study
  • encourages financially excluded people to open bank accounts
  • is making real progress in combating climate change

It also represents real value for money to the public purse, levering in billions in private money, recycling of receipts, moving from grants to loans and sharing risk with a wide range of private sector partners.

Not investing in housing will mean more homeless households and more vulnerable people living in poor housing conditions, but will also mean:

  • higher NHS, police and welfare costs
  • higher CO2 emissions
  • worse school results
  • higher unemployment
  • greater anti-social behaviour
  • fewer community enterprises, and
  • an undermining of the economic performance of the country as a whole

Making the Case in practice

Pennine 2000 manages just over 11,000 social housing properties in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. The organisation won the UK housing award 2006 category of Excellence in Making the Case for Housing for its More than Bricks and Mortar programme, devised to bring maximum benefits to the local community. Pennine has invested a total of £1.6 million, matched by external funding, in employment, training, the creation of businesses, the environment, the respect agenda, voluntary work and community safety.

The outcomes from the programme include:

  • support for the credit union which has seen saw 13 families helped out of doorstep debt, distributed £117,685 in loan finance, reduced interest payments from £80,000 to £7,804 and included a loan guarantee by Pennine for emergency loans
  • 10 new companies formed under Routes Into Social Enterprise, the organisation’s project to support local people to set up their own not-for-profit businesses. This has resulted in over 30 people finding employment and over 250 people receiving training or advice
  • a multi-skilled apprenticeship scheme which has a 82% retention rate and a 100% employment outcome
  • £200,000 of cavity insulation and energy-saving light bulbs delivered through the Calderdale Affordable Warmth Partnership
  • work with local schools to prevent anti-social behaviour
  • four business administration placements promoting diversity within the workforce
  • support for outward bound diversionary activities for North Halifax residents at risk of offending
  • joint mentoring between senior management team, head teachers and pupils

More information is available online at www.ph2k.org.uk

The spending review

Building on the Making the Case campaign, the CIH, Shelter, the Local Government Association, the National Housing Federation and the National Federation of Arms Length Management Organisations, have made a joint bid for the 2008-11 Spending Review, calling on the government to make housing a priority.

The submission suggests that the Chancellor will need to earmark £11.6 billion for new affordable homes in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review to begin to solve the country\’s critical housing shortage. Key factors influencing the submission are:

  • an average of 209,000 new households forming every year for the next 20 years
  • 94,000 households in temporary accommodation
  • 1.5 million households on waiting lists
  • house prices at record levels

The organisations consider that the case for delivering a major increase in affordable housing provision has never been clearer and the submission asks that the Government deliver a programme of sustained housing investment to tackle the current housing crisis.

What is needed

The joint submission sets out the case for the following investment in housing over the next three financial years:

  • new affordable homes – 210,000 new affordable homes over a three year programme of 65,000, 70,000 and 75,000 homes at a cost of £3.6 billion, £3.9 billion and £4.1 billion through a National Affordable Housing Programme. This will be supported by a financial contribution of approximately £2.7 billion per year in the form of loans and a contribution from reserves of around £2 billion per year, providing a total of around 50% of the resources needed to provide the 210,000 new homes. There is a need to increase the supply of both new affordable rented and low cost sale/intermediate housing. The programme should therefore be split between affordable rented homes and subsidised home ownership homes, delivering 150,000 affordable rented and 60,000 low cost home ownership homes over the three years
  • homelessness – a homelessness prevention budget of £80 million, £100 million and £110 million for the three years of this review. This would provide an additional £190,000 over three years for each local authority in England to assist in setting up and running additional homelessness prevention initiatives. Resources for the Hostels Improvement Programme, supporting Gypsies and Travellers and Civil Legal Aid should also be a priority
  • Decent Homes – meeting the Government\’s manifesto commitment to achieving Decent Homes in the local authority housing stock, including anticipated Arms Length Management Organisation bids, needs investment of £3.2 billion over the next three financial years and a further £1.2 billion for the following three financial years
  • Decent Homes in the private sector – a better framework is needed to deal with non-decency in private homes occupied by vulnerable people. A new programme geared to achieving scale-up of the number of loans and equity release schemes being taken out to improve homes is needed. The government should make an average of £40 million per annum available to local authorities over the next three years to support access to commercial equity release for the purpose of making non-decent homes decent
  • Supporting People – uncertainty over future revenue funding means that new services are not being developed. To secure the future of the Supporting People programme and to protect previous public investment through both revenue and capital programmes, the Supporting People programme should be up-rated to reflect real inflation costs of service providers (predominantly staff costs), to restore confidence in meeting needs and to provide room for modest levels of investment in new services. A programme of £1.8 billion, £1.9 billion and £2.0 billion for the next three financial years is needed and this should be ring-fenced to ensure that Supporting People monies are not used to meet shortfalls in other budgets
  • Local authority strategic role – the Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities recognises the strategic housing role of local authorities as ‘at the heart of achieving the social, economic and environmental objectives that shape a community and create a sense of place.’ Resources need to be made available to local authorities to encourage them to prioritise strategic housing and to make the step change in skills and approach that is required. An average of £40 million per year should be made available to support strategic housing over the three years. This equates to around £100,000 per year per local authority

More information

More information about the Making the Case for Housing campaign is available online at www.cih.org/makingthecase

The full spending review submission is available from CIH, email [email protected]rg

If your organisation has an example of how housing is supporting wider social and economic policy priorities such as crime, education, health and enterprise, please send information to [email protected].


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