It’s positive to hear that Theresa May and Sajid Javid are making changes to the planning rules to build more much needed homes. But does it go far enough for social housing? It’s not all about quantity, it’s about creating thriving communities and giving people a sense of wellbeing in the neighbourhood they live in.
Building on our initial findings published in winter 2017, the full research report of ‘Homes & Wellbeing – breaking down housing stereotypes' (PDF 925kb) proves that social housing plays a positive role in protecting people from anxiety. Interviewing a mix of owner-occupiers, shared owners and social rent customers, we found that what really matters to people is not so much the chance to climb onto the housing ladder, but a sense of control and security in their home.
Our new in-depth research report by VIVID in association with the Centre for Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) based at the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester, explores the relationship between lived experience of the home and wellbeing.
Mark Perry, Chief Executive of VIVID said: “We’re dedicated to building more homes, while looking after the wellbeing of our customers.
“Our research shows that the most crucial part of the home, is the social fabric of the neighbourhood in which it’s embedded. The social value of tenure mix and giving people the opportunities to interact with each other, all reduce neighbourhood tension. Build quality also comes hand in hand with this; ensuring we have well built homes that help give security as well as allow for the development of a community is clearly very important.
“We need to think harder about how we build new homes and neighbourhoods, and create the right environment for communities to thrive. It’s important we get it right, to make sure everyone has the best chance in life.”
Dr James Gregory, Senior Research Fellow at Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management said: “We have consistently found that, no matter what the tenure or ownership status of a person’s home, one of the most significant features of a good home is a sense of security and confidence that you can ‘get away from it all’ at home. Good neighbours, good design and good management are all as important for wellbeing as a person’s tenure or tenancy.”
Social housing should be seen as a policy tool for addressing the housing needs of more than just the most vulnerable. For many people, a wider social housing offer may actually be better for their wellbeing. It can in fact provide the emotional security and stability that is one of the key drivers of the apparent aspiration to own a home.
Top of the list in practical terms is the issue of how the social housing sector could deliver a step-change in the supply of social housing. As, there’s an affordability crisis in the housing system and financial challenges are driven by government policy (the loss of grant and changes to how developers can discharge their Section 106 obligations) as well as the cost of land in the ever-rising housing market. But, it’s more vital than ever that housing associations shape the future delivery for the wellbeing of its customers and society as a whole.
Here's a summary of our research:
We need to think harder about how we build new homes and neighbourhoods, and create the right environment for communities to thrive. It’s important we get it right, to make sure everyone has the best chance in life.