It looks at:
* Tackling under-occupation;
* Reviewing allocations schemes;
* Private rented sector options;
* Cash incentive schemes to assist home purchase through low-cost market housing;
* Making the best use of existing space for overcrowded households;
* Joint working and partnerships.
It is estimated that some 554,000 households in England are overcrowded – and 234,000 of these are in the social housing sector. There are significant issues with overcrowding in London where some 37% of all overcrowded households live, as well as in other cities such as Birmingham, Bradford, Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester.
The guide has been produced by the Homelessness Action Team which is jointly managed by the Tenant Services Authority and Communities and Local Government (CLG). The team works with social housing landlords and local authorities to tackle homelessness and related issues, including overcrowding and under-occupation.
Homelessness Action Team Project Manager Tim Gray said: "Living in overcrowded accommodation can have a devastating effect on families. Under-achievement at school can be caused by a lack of space for children to do their homework, and older children may spend more time outside the home on the streets simply to find privacy. Children growing up in difficult housing conditions, including in overcrowded households, are 25% more likely to suffer severe ill-health and disability during childhood and early adulthood.
"Under-occupation is also a major issue, as there are twice as many under-occupiers in the social housing sector as there are overcrowded households. We’re encouraging social housing landlords to look at their current allocation schemes and identify where tenants who might be under occupying large homes can move into smaller social housing properties."
The TSA is developing national standards for social housing landlords to raise the standard of services for tenants. The standard on Tenancy will require registered social housing providers to develop and deliver services to address under-occupation and overcrowding in their homes.
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