Government making housing crises worse – Steve’s latest Croydon Advertiser column
Having a place to call home is one of the most important features of a secure life. And yet many people in Croydon do not enjoy this basic right. More than 100 people contact me every month because their home is overcrowded, squalid, infested, damp, or because they have nowhere to live at all.
House prices are so high the average age of a first-time buyer without help from their parents is 40. Many young people growing up today believe they will never be able to buy their own home. At the same time rents have soared, with the HomeLet rental index showing the average price of renting a home in London up by over 12 per cent, to £1,500 a month, and tenants in Croydon now spending 42 per cent of their wages on rent.
A woman contacted me recently because she had been evicted from her flat and was sleeping with her two school-age children on the floor of the office block she cleaned. Another Croydon mum came to see me because she’d been placed in emergency housing in north-east London, a 90-minute journey across London to get her six-year-old to school in Thornton Heath.
We desperately need more housing, and in particular more affordable family-sized housing. But new housebuilding is at its lowest level since the 1920s, and the Government is selling off social housing at a loss and without replacing the properties sold.
One in three social homes sold ends up in the hands of private landlords. Housing is one of the top issues facing Croydon and London, but the Government is making the crisis worse not better.