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Social housing shortage 'contributing to poverty'

A shortage of social housing has had a negative impact on those living in poverty, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has revealed.The organisation has published a new report, Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion, which draws on a range of factors to show how the UK's economic recovery is affecting people in poverty. A shortage of social housing means more of those in poverty are living with insecure tenancies in the private rented sector.The number of such people in the private rented sector doubled in the last decade, the report reveals. This has occurred alongside a dramatic fall in the number of social renters - a decade ago, they were twice the number of private renters but now the numbers are the same.According to the research, the number of private landlord repossessions is now higher than the number of mortgage repossessions (17,000 compared to 15,000 in 2013-14). The most common cause of homelessness is now the end of a private rented sector tenancy. Housing benefit claimants have risen by over a million in the last ten years. While the number of claimants fell during the past 12 months, there was an increase in working people claiming Housing Benefit and the average amount they claim is rising.Julia Unwin, chief executive of JRF, called for the development of a comprehensive strategy that would "tackle the root causes of poverty, such as low pay and the high cost of essentials". "This research in particular demonstrates that affordable housing has to be part of the answer to tackling poverty: all main political parties need to focus now on providing more decent, affordable homes for people on low incomes," she added.The report reveals a large rise in the proportion of adults under 25 in poverty over the last decade and a big fall among the over-75s. In addition, there are now as many working families as workless ones in poverty. 

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