- Available in: Print and PDF
- Published: January 1, 2008
Edited by Denise Chevin.
Published 2008 (ISBN 1 905370 32 6) Price £9.95
Affordable housing is at the top of the political agenda, with the government aiming to achieve a considerable increase in the building of affordable homes over the next three years, to 70,000 a year (including a 50% rise in new social rented homes), with extra funding to promote mixed-income communities, eco-homes and greater housing choice. In addition, ministers have pledged to bring all existing social housing up to a decent standard by 2010 and to reform housing-related welfare support to tackle benefit dependency and worklessness – which is concentrated in the social rented sector. Housing associations, which are the largest social landlords and the main suppliers of new social rented and shared-ownership properties, are central to the success of this ambitious housing programme. Without their co-operation and support, the government is unlikely to meet its housing targets. The housing association sector has expanded year on year since the 1980s under the auspices of the housing stock transfer programme, and has now overtaken local councils as the largest group of social landlords. Many of the big housing associations are lead partners in major regeneration developments and most are actively engaged in neighbourhood renewal projects and “place-making” initiatives with their local council. However, the sector is far from homogenous and the size and reach of housing associations varies enormously. Although recipients of government grants and regulated by public agencies, housing associations are not creatures of central or local government. Most are independent charities with a long history of housing management and local community activity. Against the backcloth of major changes in the affordable housing market, such as the creation of the new Homes & Communities Agency, reforms to the housing subsidy system and a new social housing regulator (Oftenant), this collection of essays debate what potential opportunities and risks lie ahead for the sector. The focus is on the future roles and performance of housing associations and how the sector can adapt and grow. The authors also show how housing associations in different ways can help shape the future, not least in developing new approaches to funding affordable housing and improving partnerships with both local government and the private sector. Most importantly, this monograph demonstrates that the sector is changing and has fresh ideas about how to meet the complex housing challenges that face us all.