Shropshire Star

Need for more social housing is urgent to solve homeless crisis

Andrew Asaam, ambassador for the Midlands at Lloyds Banking Group, explains the scale of the social housing crisis in the West Midlands.


Tonight, 130,000 children will be sleeping in temporary accommodation.

That’s 130,000 without the security of a warm, affordable home and all that means for their health and life opportunities. That’s 130,000 too many.

There’s no answer to this problem that doesn’t involve increasing the supply of high-quality social housing.

This is a topic particularly close to the hearts of people in the West Midlands. Our research shows that 27 per cent of people here see a lack of social housing as the single biggest challenge facing housing in this country.

The number of people experiencing homelessness in the UK is rising. Research from our charity partner Crisis has revealed that nearly a quarter of a million households across England (242,000) are now experiencing the worst forms of homelessness. Much of this homelessness is hidden, and includes sleeping on the streets, spending night after night on friends’ and families' sofas or stuck in unsuitable temporary accommodation like nightly paid B&Bs.

Andrew Asaam, ambassador for the Midlands at Lloyds Banking Group

To help address this problem, we’ve joined with Crisis to campaign for one million additional social rent homes to be built over the next decade.

Around 233,000 new homes were supplied in 2021-22, which falls well short of the 340,000 that estimates suggest are needed annually. When it comes to social housing, there’s a shortfall of around 100,000 new properties every year across the country1. In 2021/22, there were only 7,500 new social homes built, and 21,600 were either sold or demolished. Nearly 1.5 million families across the country are stuck on social housing waiting lists.

These are challenging figures and many people aren’t aware of the scale of the problem. In fact, 75 per cent of people in the West Midlands overestimated how many social homes were built in the UK last year.

The declining availability of social housing has contributed to an increase in the number of people living in the private rented sector. In 2022, 44 per cent of households assessed as being at risk of homelessness were renting privately, while social renters made up only 11 per cent.

Our research shows that there is widespread public support for building more social homes. We asked people for their views and 56 per cent of people in the West Midlands agree that social housing could help fix the housing crisis, while 69 per cent believe the UK should build more homes for social rent, provided by councils or housing associations for people on lower incomes.

When we asked the general public who should be prioritised for social homes, many of those polled believed that it should go to homeless people and over a quarter (27 per cent) said medics, firefighters and police should be prioritised on waiting lists.

People in the West Midlands want policymakers and industry to respond with action that significantly increases the delivery of new social homes.

At Lloyds Banking Group, we’re determined to play our part and we’ve provided around £16 billion in new funding to Britain’s social housing sector since 2018. We’ve also partnered with Crisis to develop a brand new, not-for-profit lettings agency so that those on low incomes can access safe, affordable, quality housing.

It’s clear people in the West Midlands want change and policymakers must respond with action that significantly increases the delivery of new social homes - because everyone deserves to have a place to call home.