Selwood Housing builds record number of affordable homes to help combat housing crisis in the south west
Selwood Housing, a local housing association based in West Wiltshire, built a record number of affordable homes during 2017/18, totalling 254, with 110 (43%) in Wiltshire, 113 (44%) in Somerset and 31 homes in Bath and North East Somerset.
Barry Hughes, Selwood Housing Group Chief Executive shares, “As a housing association we understand the difficulties many people face in finding affordable homes in the south west, especially with the cost of privately renting a home increasing. Selwood Housing’s 254 new homes, at full occupancy, will support over 870 people who couldn’t afford to privately rent or purchase a home.”
According to the National Housing Federation’s Home Truths Report, the average cost of renting in the South West is now over £700 a month, with many family homes costing much more. This equates to around 36% of local incomes; a high percentage for people on low incomes.
Two customers who have recently moved into new Selwood Housing homes explain how this has transformed their lives.
Due to an unpredictable life event, Katherine was living with her three daughters in a privately rented property in the centre of Wells.
“I’ve always been the main ‘bread-winner’ in the family, with a successful career in the education sector. However, as a single parent it was becoming increasingly challenging to work the same hours as I had before, to ensure that the rent was paid.
“Then unexpectedly I was asked to move out, as the property owners wanted to use the home for another purpose. I sought advice on what to do and registered myself for social housing. There aren’t that many family homes available, but I had to try and secure something in time.
“I felt incredibly lucky when my bid came through on my new home – it was ‘a miracle’ that came at exactly the right time. It means I can now afford to work part-time and be present for my children, which is leading to a healthier life for the whole family.
“I’d like to thank Selwood Housing for my new home and Mendip District Council for their support and advice.”
Gary collected the keys for his new home two weeks ago. A full-time working father of four, he shares “We’ve been living in a three-bedroom house which is too small for our needs. We’ve got four children and really needed more space.
“Privately renting a home just isn’t an option for us. Not just the expense, but also the lack of security it brings is really challenging with a large family to look after.
“Our new home is going to make a huge difference to our life. We’ve never before been able to sit down as a family and eat dinner together. Now we’ll have space for a table and can enjoy more family time at home.”
According to the National Housing Federation’s Home Truths Report, housing associations built 26% of new homes in England in 2017/18.
Barry Hughes adds, “Housing associations play a vital role providing quality, affordable homes. We are looking to build a further 1,000 homes over five years, providing more affordable homes in a sustained way, working with local communities.”