The over-reliance on the private rented sector to meet social housing need has been an abject failure, demonstrated by unaffordable rents and increasing homelessness among families. The SVP believes that while there is a role for a well-regulated and affordable private rented sector in meeting social housing need in the short term, a return to the build and acquisition of social housing by local authorities and approved housing bodies is the only way to address the housing and homelessness crisis.
The current social housing strategy, Social Housing 2020, provides for 110,000 social homes before the end of the decade, with the majority of these to be delivered via supports to tenants living in the private rented sector. SVP recommends that Government should reverse the direction set out in Social Housing 2020, where 70% of social housing need is to be met via supports like HAP, Rent Supplement and leasing to a commitment to meet 70% of social housing need through the build and acquisition of social housing units by Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.
This will take time to achieve but investment in social housing units is vital if the causes of the housing crisis are to be tackled and overcome in the longer term.