22nd Century Housing Repairs ~ The Social Housing Environment
- a personal view by Chris Potter Director UNICLASS, ROCC
What will the social housing repairs service look like in the future? This article is a personal series of blogs looking at what a 22nd Century repairs service would look like and covering different aspects such as; the housing stock, transportation and scheduling, the housing environment and the operative of the future. In my previous blog we looked at what transportation and scheduling might look like in the future.
In this blog we examine the housing environment.
The Social Housing Environment
Social housing is already becoming part state part private. Free housing will likely not last long into the future in much the same way as free education hasn’t and more part funded property will appear. This will make the Client more discerning and have more ownership not just of the house but in the repair of the property itself.
It has been clear for some time that housing supply is not keeping up with demand. Reasons for rising demand include improved life expectancy rates and a growing number of one-person households and to a lesser extent increased net immigration.
There are almost 1.8 million households on English local authority housing registers and significant levels of overcrowding in the private and social housing stock. Poor housing has long been proved to impact directly on residents’ health and educational attainment, while difficulties in accessing affordable housing can also limit the ability of people to move to find work. The need to increase the supply of housing and tackle affordability issues is a key housing policy issue. Yet despite the critical social and economic role that housing plays, it has tended not to have the same political profile as other areas such as health and education.
Recent Government frustration with Housing Associations and the new Opposition agenda may well be changing this as we speak Housing is sure to be an increasingly prominent battle-ground.
Home ownership in the future will be the preserve of the rich, most people, as in many European Countries, will rent as the norm. A quick browse of RightMove sees parking spaces for sale in London for £65,000 people will soon be priced out of City Living without intervention by Government..
This will generate massive competition in the social housing sector. In much the same way as flat sharing in the private sector happens this will be duplicated in the social sector with many families and extended families sharing single multi-purpose housing units.
The resultant pressure on the availability of social housing is likely to result in the development of more single person, utilitarian dwellings like housing pods (below) or more innovative ideas such as houses made from Shipping Containers (very green small footprint) or the new Airstream Mobile Home Communities springing up in aluminium caravans (very mobile no footprint) .
The UK has an ageing population with lower birth rates and people living longer. It is projected that the proportion of people in England in the 65+ bracket will be 10.6 million or 19.4 per cent of the population by 2021, an increase of approximately 13 per cent since 2005. This coupled with the trend that as people grow older their housing needs change with older people spending 70% - 90% of their time in their home make the pressure in suppling a warm and secure environment which is properly maintained even more critical.
As pressure increases for the aging population to remain in the own homes and receive any social care in situ this also opens a whole new set of adaptations which must be put in place and serviced
To provide solutions to the aging populations requirements schemes such as ‘Cohousing’ and ‘Homeshare’ are starting to gain popularity. Cohousing has the concept of a specific communities created and run by its residents. It consists of private dwellings with shared facilities, such as communal washing areas with the residents offering mutual support to each other. Homeshare balances elderly and less able people with younger people and students who are willing to offer them living assistance in exchange for cheaper accommodation, cohabiting in the older person's home.
The emphasis on reducing void times to a few days will become the key factor in increasing the occupancy yields from the existing stock. Refurbished and the re-letting process will be sleek and achieved in a few hours.
In the next blog we will look at the repair operative of the future.
© Chris Potter, 2015
Chris has worked in the Software and Housing market for over 30 years.
Posted Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 by Chris Potter