I read with interest the recent report from the National Housing Federation (NHF) on housing homeless families. The NHF undertook interviews with local authorities, private registered providers, and families who had been homeless but were now tenants of one of the RP's, to better understand how social housing is allocated to homeless families.
The report has identified lots of examples of good practice, particularly strong local partnership working between local authorities and RP's where the needs of families were understood and matched. However, when reading the report there is no avoiding the key issue and, let's be blunt, the key problem: there needs to be more funding, for more social rented homes (as well as dedicated funding for support for families).
Anyone involved in housing won't be surprised by that conclusion: demand for housing far outweighs supply and that is particularly the case for family-sized homes. The consequences of this are seen daily, especially in the context of allocating housing to homeless families.
Whilst the Government has taken some steps to tackle this - for example, planning reforms - it is clear these are not sufficient. There needs to be radical reform and change to increase housing supply. Whilst money doesn't grow on trees, there is no getting away from the fact that is central to kick-starting that reform. Will we see that during this Government? I suspect not, but let's wait and see.
We wanted to understand the difference that housing can make to people’s lives, and how housing associations and local authorities can work together to support more people out of homelessness.