Shelter says that 3.1 million homes are needed over the next 20 years

The homelessness charity’s Social Housing Commission warned that 1.27 million homes will be needed for homeless people and those in ill health

Britain needs 3.1 million homes in the next two decades to deal with the housing crisis – that’s the verdict of Shelter’s Social Housing Commission.

The 16 commissioners – including former Labour leader Ed Miliband, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Big Issue favourite and artist David Tovey – delivered their final report yesterday, recommending that the government doubles down on building social homes after just 6,463 were built last year.

To fill the gap, more than 1.27m homes will be needed for homeless people, ill health and to replace homes that are not fit for habitation while 691,000 will be needed for older renters.

Shelter’s commission suggest that £10.7bn will be needed annually over the next 20 years to fund these homes but will deliver a return on investment in 39 years, especially when compared to the £21bn and £62bn spent every year on housing benefit and capital expenditure respectively.

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Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Miliband told the government “the time to act is now” in no uncertain terms.

He said: “We have never felt so divided as a nation, but building social homes is a priority for people right across our country.

“It is the way we can restore hope, build strong communities and fix the broken housing market so that we can meet the needs and aspirations of millions of people.”

Warsi added: “Social mobility has been decimated by decades of political failure to address our worsening housing crisis. Half our young people cannot buy and thousands face the horror of homelessness. Our vision for social housing presents a vital opportunity to reverse this decay. We simply cannot afford not to act.”

Shelter’s commission was hailed by housing experts with the National Housing Federation chief executive Kate Henderson calling the commission a “landmark”. She said: “The commission is right to recognise that social housing is a crucial national asset, and we need to properly invest in it. As the report points out, this is a wise investment that will more than pay for itself in the long-term.”

As for the government, they have long-since had the target to build 300,000 new homes per year with Communities Secretary James Brokenshire pointing to the £9bn affordable homes programme to deliver 250,000 homes by 2022 with £2bn more pledged by 2028.

Image: Alex Liivet/Flickr