The Long Wait for Council Homes


Over 1 million families in England are stuck on long waiting lists for social housing. According to the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, 1.15 million households were on waiting lists during 2017. Only 290,000 homes were made available the same year, resulting in a national shortfall of over 800,000 homes. Furthermore, the number of council homes in Britain has now hit an all time low.

There Isn’t Enough Council Homes

Shelter has stated that the backlog of people waiting for social housing is due to a lack of new-build council homes. Many existing homes are also being sold off through the right-to-buy scheme but aren’t being replaced.

Overall, approximately 65% of families have been on social housing waiting lists for more than a year. A further 27% have been waiting for over five years. Among the top 10 councils with the biggest shortfall were six London boroughs. Brighton, Blackpool and Strood in Kent are also struggling.

Families Are Left to Wait for Far Too Long

It’s clear that there is a significant problem across England. Understandably, families are extremely frustrated given that they have been left waiting for extended periods of time, in some cases for years on end. Without a permanent home, families are unable to get settled and move on with their lives.

Shelter is calling for significant government action to address the housing and homelessness crisis. Currently, families are left waiting for a council home to become available when they should be guaranteed safe, secure and affordable housing as quickly as possible.

Government Intervention

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has outlined that over 357,000 new, affordable homes have been built since 2010. Furthermore, £9 billion has been promised this year to be invested in affordable homes. £2 billion was promised by Theresa May in 2017, however critics don’t believe that this is enough to solve the current housing crisis.

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