Opinion: Dampen your Mould – The dire state of housing in the UK

The dire state of housing and the poor conditions in which many private rented sector, council and social housing tenants are living has been brought to the forefront yet again in recent weeks.

Good, because this needs to be addressed. SHM’s Dr Gaby Wolferink writes about her views and experiences and thinks about how sensor technology can and should be used to build better housing, fit for the 21st century, for everyone, not just those who can afford it.

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Homelessness and Covid-19. Utilising empty homes.

Local authorities have a duty under the Housing Act (Wales) 2014 to prevent homelessness and provide support for people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

In 2015, homelessness legislation introduced new duties and powers for local authorities to prevent homelessness for anyone at risk within 56 days.

Amy McMurray explores the possibility of utilising empty home to alleviate homelessness challenges.

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Rapid responsive action to Covid and the need for a forward looking and long-term response.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has prompted rapid responsive action from both the UK government and the devolved nations across the United Kingdom. The national lockdown and the subsequent regional lockdowns that have occurred since March 2020 have placed restrictions and conditions on all citizens that has required people to stay home, however, this has only highlighted the urgent need for people to live in safe and suitable accommodation, write Emma Parcell

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2021: A Home Odyssey

In this article Dr Gaby Wolferink looks back to 2020 and what she feels should be the key lessons to be brought into 2021 and beyond.

It ended up a story of privilege and a call to action for tech providers, architects and social housing providers to start building homes fit to harbour someone in a pandemic, in safety, instead of being yet another concern.

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Tough decisions: juggling strategic choices

Ellen Damlica is an Associate at Penningtons Manches Cooper and specialises in social housing governmance.

This article is intended to facilitate discussion around key decisions that need to be made after 2020 and going into 2021 at Board and executive level, and to assist in identifying which matters are the ’glass balls’ and which are the ’plastic balls’.

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Duo-living: A different approach to the housing crisis from the Netherlands

Stichting Statiegeld op Jeugd is a Dutch initiative that is seeking to combat the housing crisis in the Netherlands. They do so by proposing a housing ‘format’ where existing homes, mostly occupied by ’empty nesters’ are split up into two homes, allowing the older generation to stay in their own homes AND create more social housing out of existing properties!

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Community-Led Approaches to Empty Homes in Wales

This article comes from final-year BSc Housing Students at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Amy McMurray, Anthony Morgans, and Emma Parcell.

On behalf of Tyfu Tai Cymru, a 5-year housing policy project, they researched the role of community-led solutions in addressing empty homes.

This article shares their most important findings.

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Letter to my Landlord

Recently, things have become just a bit too much. The pandemic, changes to planning laws, evictions can go ahead again, and wishy washy statements about funding for retrofit of the existing housing stock and building more social housing.

An anonymous contributer decided to write a letter to their landlord, addressing issues that other private renting tenants might recognise.

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Language Matters: It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it…

We use language every day, in everything we do. Whether it’s spoken, written, signed or even drawn. It’s how we communicate, and, as recipients get an idea of what people think of us. That’s why language matters in social housing.

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Quality Street – From sweets to reality

There’s people who love data, and people that just stare at it and wait for something magical to happen to make it interesting all of a sudden. That’s what Caroline Duvier has done here: make it interesting. She uses baking and sweets to talk about data and how you can consider data to be the ingredients of a wonderful cake called ‘happy residents’!

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The People Who Occupy the Margins

This is the first of our Anonymous contributions from a social housing professional working in the intensive housing management part of a large housing association. The author wants to bring to the forefront some challenges they are facing and hopes to start a recognition and discussion about what housing providers can do to prevent people from falling through the cracks.

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