The housing crisis isn’t about houses – it’s about people. It’s the family struggling to meet next month’s mortgage payment. The young family renting a rundown flat, wondering if they’ll ever be able to afford a home of their own. The children living in temporary accommodation, forced to change schools every time they move.
The lack of affordable, decent homes is affecting families across the whole country. Here’s how:
- Home ownership is slipping out of reach: On average, house prices are now almost seven times people’s incomes. No matter how hard they work, it’s becoming more and more difficult for young people to save up and buy a home of their own. In the last decade, home ownership fell for the first time since Census records began.
- Housing costs are hugely expensive: Many of the people on the housing ladder did so by taking out risky mortgage loans that stretched them to their financial limit. Now that the economy is struggling, people are finding it harder to meet their monthly repayments, often with dire consequences – 28,900 homes were repossessed across the UK in 2013.
- More families are renting from private landlords: There are now more than nine million renters in private rented accommodation, including almost 1.3 million families with children. Renting can be incredibly unstable, with soaring rents, hidden fees and eviction a constant worry. And it can mean living in dreadful conditions too – one third of private rented homes in England fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
- Levels of homelessness are rising: The ultimate impact of the housing crisis is the huge numbers of people forced out of their homes altogether. The number of homeless households has risen to more than 50,000 a year. Some of these households – many with dependent children – will then wait for years, sometimes in temporary accommodation. And more than 2,000 people a year will have no roof over their head at all, ending up sleeping rough.
Things have to change. Urgent reform is needed. Which is why we are campaigning tirelessly to end the housing crisis and to make sure everyone has a decent, affordable home.
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