Why I'm SHOUTing about Social Housing

As a number of Local Authorities pass resolutions in favour of social housing, Councillor Harry Harpham, of Sheffield City Council, blogs for us about the thinking behind ensuring his city has access to a supply of the best tenure of homes.

I am the Housing Lead at Sheffield City Council and the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Brightside (currently David Blunkett’s seat.” At the end of last year my Council passed a motion in support of SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat). Here’s why.

Social housing matters. It is by far the best way to meet the housing needs of the tens of thousands of people locally who cannot access owner occupation or afford rents in the private rented sector. The City Council directly manages over 40,000 homes and local housing associations manage around 20,000 more. Social housing provides warm, good quality, secure accommodation at rents that people really can afford.

Housing is the foundation of a good life for all of us and we need a range of different types of accommodation to suit all sections of the Sheffield community. For some younger people it provides a springboard for them to settle, start a family and build their lives. For others it provides a safety net – for example when people lose their jobs unexpectedly and become homeless. For others with permanent disabilities it provides a home for life. No-one in social housing needs to look over their shoulder and wonder how many more weeks are left before their tenancy runs out.

That’s why the City Council and I both strongly support the continuation of social housing in this country. We have a housing crisis, and we need to build many, many more homes of all types. Social housing should be central to this effort. I support the SHOUT campaign for 100,000 new social homes to be built each year. This would provide a significant contribution to the work of the private house builders; we should, however, recognise that house builders on their own will never be able to boost supply to the 200,000+ new homes this country requires each year just to keep pace with the formation of new households.

Let’s all keep SHOUTing

Councillor Harry Harpham

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