The Affordable Housing Commission (AHC), the new, independent commission chaired by Lord Richard Best, is issuing a call for evidence for 2019.
The call for evidence follows the AHC’s recent focus group work in Birmingham which showed that:
- First time buyers and struggling renters think that the private rental sector is ‘broken’ and in need of radical change
- Many of those privately renting report are currently paying 40%-45% of their household income in rent
- That saving for a deposit is a major barrier; and saving for a deposit for up to five years will mean a level of sacrifice that is unsustainable.
The focus group findings are available on request and from the 14 February on the AHC’s website https://www.affordablehousingcommission.org/
The AHC aims to achieve policy changes that will make a lasting difference to the current housing crisis, and the call for evidence invites organisations and individuals to share views and suggestions on how problems of housing shortage and affordability can be ended.
The AHC, which is funded by the Nationwide Foundation and organised by the Smith Institute, was launched last year and is made up of 15 leading players from across the housing world.
The commission will examine the causes and effects of the affordability crisis and propose workable solutions. It has identified four key groups for whom the affordability of their accommodation is causing serious difficulty, and for whom the AHC’s call for evidence would like to address:
- Struggling renters: these are required to spend more than a third of their income on rented accommodation; they are often in the private rented sector (PRS), although the problem is also evident in in the social housing sector.
- Frustrated homeowners: those unable to buy a property without spending over a third on housing costs; many, who struggling to save and without significant parental support, are destined to remain in the PRS.
- Those reliant on state support: households that rely on Housing Benefit/the housing component within Universal Credit, but current arrangements provide inadequate support, taking many below the poverty line.
- Those who face affordability issues in older age: whose incomes drop suddenly in retirement but whose rents remain the same (something which could become a bigger issue for generation rent in the future), but also older owners in unsatisfactory homes who cannot afford to upgrade their property or acquire somewhere suitable.
Lord Richard Best, Chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, said: “We are all acutely aware of the problems caused by the shortages and cost of housing and are keen to hear a range of views on how these problems can be ended. Although mindful of the practicalities and politics, we are hoping to bring together a small number of major policy initiatives which could make a dramatic difference. We would greatly welcome your help in focusing our attention on the issues that matter most to you.”
Organisations and individuals should email views and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submission and comments is 4th April 2019. Submissions should indicate if views are not to be cited or quoted. The call for evidence includes a note on the scope of the research, which is available on the Commission’s website https://www.affordablehousingcommission.org/