People in housing need

Published annually by the NHF, People in housing need gives the best estimate of housing need in England. 

Local housing waiting lists have often been used to estimate housing need, but these registers are unreliable, particularly since the introduction of strict requirements for applicants to have a 'local connection', preventing many from joining the register.

We believe it is imperative to understand the scale of housing need in order to plan appropriate policy responses, and to humanise and better inform the debate around the scale and dynamics of the need for new housing.

People in housing need 2021

According to the most recent findings, there are half a million more families in need of social housing than are recorded on official housing waiting lists. This equates to 4.2 million people, including a staggering 1.3 million children.

Last year, the government committed £11.5bn to build 180,000 new affordable homes over the next five years through the Affordable Homes Programme. This is a significant sum and the first commitment to funding for social rent since 2010. However, while this funding is welcome, with 1.6 million families in need of social housing, more needs to be done. Previous research by Heriot Watt University for Crisis and the National Housing Federation shows 90,000 social rented homes must be built each year to meet demand. Housing associations are ready to work with the government to build the right homes for those in need.

Previous reports

People in housing need 2020

Who to speak to

Tristan Carlyon, Head of Research and Analysis