Housing groups across the UK have urged the government to put social homes at the heart of the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by launching a new campaign.
The Homes at the Heart campaign calls for a ‘once-in-a-generation’ investment in social housing, saying that this would create jobs, boost the economy, and reduce pressure on the NHS.
The campaign is being led by the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Crisis, the Association of Retained Council Housing and the National Federation of ALMOs.
The campaign so far lists over 60 national and regional organisations as supporters, including numerous Northern housing association groups and chambers of commerce.
In a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the groups behind the campaign wrote: “The coronavirus crisis is further highlighting the need for secure, high quality, better designed affordable homes and, for many people, support to live in them.
“Without action, we are likely to see many people’s housing situations get much worse in the weeks, months and years ahead, as the economic impacts of the crisis are felt across the country.”
Supporters of the campaign say that investment in social housing will help many of the people most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, such as low paid key workers, rough sleepers, older people, and families stuck in overcrowded homes.
The campaign has identified several areas where it believes that social housing could help the country bounce back from COVID-19, commenting that investment in new and existing social homes ‘gives more back to the economy than it takes’.
Building and improving social homes would create jobs and bring ‘huge’ environmental benefits, it says, while supporting people to live well would improve health and wellbeing and drive cost savings for the NHS.
The signatories of the letter to Sunak have urged the government to put social homes ‘at the heart of recovery’, calling them a ‘driver of economic and social prosperity, and an anchor for strong communities’.
The announcement comes days after the Local Government Association urged the government to build 100,000 social homes a year for key workers and families who have lost relatives due to COVID-19.