Almost 4,000 on housing waiting list in South Gloucestershire
NEARLY 4,000 households are on the waiting list for social housing in South Gloucestershire, with more than a quarter of those in unhygienic or overcrowded conditions.
Housing charity Shelter said the figures are "chilling" and called for the Government to increase the funding for new social homes.
The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows 3,909 households on the housing waiting list in South Gloucestershire.
That is 30% fewer than in 2016 – but of those, 1,324 were households living in unhygienic or overcrowded housing, while a further 270 had to move due to a medical condition.
There were just two vacant homes owned by South Gloucestershire Council at the end of March last year, when the official figures were compiled.
Across England, more than 1.1 million families were on council waiting lists – 6% fewer than in 2016 – but only 23,000 council homes were available in 2017-18.
Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: "When you compare the number of households waiting with the tiny number of available homes, and the trickle of new social homes being built, you understand how chilling today’s housing crisis is.
"It’s not just those in greatest need crying out for the chance of a stable home either, hundreds of thousands of older people and young families are also desperate to escape the private renting trap."
Local Government Association housing spokesman Martin Tett said: "A genuine renaissance in council housebuilding is the only way to boost housing supply and tackle the housing waiting lists many councils have.”
Over recent last years, South Gloucestershire's social housing stock has risen.
By the end of March 2017, there were 12,250 social and council homes, up from 11,300 in 2012. The council announced it was handing land to social housing provider Merlin in January with the intention of creating sites for another 54 homes.
A government spokesman said: "For the last 30 years, governments of all stripes and types have failed to build enough homes. We still need to deliver more, better, faster so we have given councils the freedom to build a new generation of council houses and are investing £9 billion in affordable housing, up until March 2022.
"The accuracy of the list also depends on the extent to which housing authorities keep the register up-to-date, as some people might already have found housing, yet remain on the list."