According to housing and homelessness charity Shelter, the number of people living in temporary accommodation has risen by an ‘alarming’ 74% in the past ten years due to an ongoing shortage of social housing and an overreliance on pricy private renting.
With the sheer demand for social housing across the country, local authorities have increasingly relied upon private industry to ensure vulnerable individuals receive the shelter they need. Data gathered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities suggests that as many as 81% of affordable homes in the UK were delivered by private registered providers.
Many affordable homes are tailored to vulnerable tenants priced out of private rentals. The demographic makeup of these vulnerable groups can vary, but research by Shelter suggests that women are traditionally overrepresented in temporary and social housing, and a 2022 press release by London Councils revealed that 65% of Londoners in temporary housing are women. As such, social housing can serve as an essential safeguard against the looming threat of rough sleeping for vulnerable women.
But what are some of the challenges that make an increased investment in social housing essential? We’ve put together a brief overview to help property investors better understand the demand for social housing from the unique perspective of vulnerable women navigating the current housing crisis.
There are various social obstacles facing vulnerable women that put them at greater risk of homelessness than their male counterparts. For example, the number of people made homeless due to domestic abuse – which disproportionately affects more women than men – rose by 13.7% in 2021.
A 2021 report by Shelter also revealed that women were 36% more likely than men to be in arrears or struggle to afford accommodation. With 1 in 38 single mothers homeless in the same year, 69% of female private renters surveyed by the charity worried they wouldn't be able to afford a decent home if their relationship with their significant other ended. Considering research by the Local Government Association showed that 49% of single parents (90% of whom are women) and their children lived in poverty in 2022, those concerns are hardly unfounded.
As a result, when social housing fails to meet demand, women are often faced with the impossible choice of either remaining with an abusive partner due to financial concerns or escaping their abuse at the risk of homelessness.
Though the benefits system and private renting can support women in these situations, the negative stigma attached to benefit claimants may complicate things further. An example of this thinking can be seen in controversial ‘No DSS’ policies, through which landlords and letting agencies discriminated against renters receiving housing benefits by denying them properties they could afford.
A 2022 whitepaper outlined upcoming government efforts to end blanket bans on renting to families with children and benefit claimants, 60% of whom consist of women according to a 2018 report by the Women's Budget Group. Still, despite these ongoing efforts to end discriminatory practices in the private renting sector, vulnerable women – and especially single mothers – may continue to experience hardship when private renting that will likely make homelessness a constant possibility.
Temporary housing is also a notoriously overburdened system that lets vulnerable women down. Regardless of the overall quality of the accommodation, waiting lists for temporary housing can be untenably long. Those who manage to secure a house may be further let down by poor conditions or relocated to far-away boroughs, negatively impacting their social lives and mental health.
With so many potential blockers to a vulnerable woman’s ability to find stable and secure permanent housing, social housing investment may be one of the few readily available solutions for mitigating the threat of homelessness through private sector intervention.
Investing in social housing doesn't have to be a trade-off between charity and profitability. A savvy social housing investor can offer vulnerable renters the security of safe, long-term and affordable accommodation while generating consistent profits.
At Concept Capital Group, we are committed to providing property investment opportunities that positively impact local communities. By using eco-friendly modern construction methods to streamline the manufacturing process without compromising quality, we produce high-grade modular homes that offer tenants a greater degree of personal comfort.
All our two- or three-bedroom are built to BS3632 standards of quality, meaning they are fit for residency for up to 25 years. They also come with:
With 121 sites across the UK, we use partnerships with local authorities to place vulnerable tenants in homes within 60 days of purchase. This not only guarantees a monthly rental income for investors within 90 days but also gives tenants an alternative to traditional social housing that supports their ties to local communities.
By overseeing the tenancy, rental collection and other administrative responsibilities, we allow clients to enjoy a low-risk, hassle-free source of passive income that is both fully owned by them and fully managed by our team of property experts.
Social housing investment will likely become a growth area as the housing crisis continues to displace vulnerable people. Whether those people are women, men or families, ethical and conscientious investors will likely have a unique opportunity to create lasting social impact as it does.
To find out more about the service we offer and how you can get involved, contact us today for an initial consultation.