NATIONAL: Study reveals millions stuck on social housing waiting list

Some households have been waiting more than five years for social housing. Picture: Shutterstock
Some households have been waiting more than five years for social housing. Picture: Shutterstock
On the panel, from left, Caroline Dinenage MP, Jullie Gallagher of Hampshire County Council's trading standards team, and Amy Rutter of Gosport's Citizens Advice Bureau. Scam Smart event at Thorngate Hall, Gosport          Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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MORE than one million people are stuck on waiting lists for social housing in England, with a quarter made to wait more than five years, a study has found.

Figures from housing and homelessness charity Shelter showed a total of 1.15m households were on waiting lists last year, with only 290,000 homes made available – leaving a national shortfall of more than 800,000 homes.

The charity says the gap is caused by a lack of new-build social homes, and many existing homes being sold off through the right-to-buy scheme and not being replaced.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the fact that some survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire were still homeless a year on from the disaster had ‘totally shaken people’s trust in the safety net the state supposedly provides’.

‘Imagine then, how frustrating life must be for the millions of people elsewhere in the country who have been stuck on waiting lists, often for years on end,’ she added.

‘This is not just confined to London but happening right across the country, from Brighton to Blackpool. Families are unable to get settled and unable to get on with their lives.

‘The Grenfell tragedy must mark a turning point in our nation’s approach to social housing and its tenants – we clearly need a bold new plan for social housing so families are not condemned to waiting lists but given safe, secure and affordable housing as quickly as possible.’