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The social impact of housing


Over four million homes were rented from councils or housing associations in 2017. Of these, 1.6 million were council owned and 2.4 million were housing association owned. The provision of social housing by councils or housing associations has steadily fallen from its peak in the 1980's.


The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, says England needs about 145,000 new social homes every year, including 90,000 at below-market rent. But in 2018 only 6,000 social rented homes were built, as a result of sharp government cuts to funding for new social housing schemes since 2010.


The effect of this shortfall in provision is being seen in an increase in waiting lists for social housing, increased overcrowding of existing properties and perhaps more worryingly, the growth of poor quality temporary housing solutions such as container 'homes' and cramped rooms in converted former office blocks. These 'quick fix' housing solutions offer little to the occupants in terms of generating a sense of place, which ultimately results in the occupants being emotionally un-invested in their surroundings, stifling any chance of creating a long lasting community.


Oxfordshire enjoys being a typically low-deprivation area. In the government's Index of Multiple Deprivation*, the county ranks amongst the 10 (of 151) least deprived parts of England. But in stark contrast, there is a significant barrier to accessing adequate housing and services across the county, driven by low availability and high income multipliers. The average house price in Oxford is 12x average annual salary, making it the most expensive in the UK. On the 'Barriers to Housing and Services' deprivation index, Oxfordshire is amongst the worst 40% of English local authorities, highlighting the challenges facing the county in provision of enough adequate housing for its residents, to eradicate fuel poverty, poor quality housing and insufficient space.

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