We need a national, collective vision for delivering homes

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Unlike with the NHS, there is no clear idea of what we are trying to achieve from housing policy, writes David Orr

In the UK as of 2023, we have 131,000 children in temporary accommodation; 14% of our homes failing the Decent Homes Standard; homeownership out of reach for most young people with a 377% price hike in 30 years; thousands of people sleeping routh; growing wealth inequality based on housing assets and a huge gap between the number of new homes we need and the number which get built.

It’s stark when set out like that. We all glibly talk about the housing crisis, say how terrible it is – then move on. We appear to have reached the stage where, like the poor, the housing crisis is always with us.

And yet it is neither inevitable nor accidental. We are where we are because of decisions that we, as a nation, have made or failed to make. We’ve had decades of underinvestment, failure to build anywhere near the number of new homes we need, failure to insulate our existing homes – and a whole stream of initiatives and announcements mainly designed to give the appearance of action.

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