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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
News"Housing crisis" declared in Oldham as thousands unable to secure homes

“Housing crisis” declared in Oldham as thousands unable to secure homes

Oldham has officially declared a “housing crisis” as thousands of families find themselves unable to secure social housing despite their bids.

Town councillors unanimously passed a motion acknowledging the frustration of families who have been “fruitlessly bidding” for homes.

The alarming issue has led to a doubling in the number of people residing in temporary accommodation since 2021.

Basic human need

Councillor Elaine Taylor emphasised the severity of the situation, stating that housing is a “basic human need.” She pointed out the “growing scarcity” of affordable housing and highlighted the urgent need for action.

She added: “Our ambition for every Oldhamer to have a decent affordable home should not be a big ask.

“However, there is a growing scarcity of genuinely affordable housing and the fact of the matter is we simply haven’t built enough social homes for way too many years.

“The figures are stark and nationally we are now in a situation where at the current rate housing is being built, it would take more than 120 years to give affordable homes to everyone waiting for social housing – that’s two lifetimes.”

Summit

A summit will be organised by key partners in Oldham’s housing sector to address and discuss potential solutions to the crisis.

The current scenario reveals that more than 7,500 families are on Oldham’s social housing register, with an additional 11,000 applicants still in the processing phase, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Councillor Taylor, who serves as the cabinet member for housing and licensing, expressed the town’s ambition for every resident to have a decent and affordable home. She lamented the insufficient construction of social homes over the years, noting that it would take more than 120 years to provide “affordable” housing to everyone on the national waiting list.

The motion specifically mentioned that numerous families have been “fruitlessly bidding on properties to no avail through no fault of their own.” Ms. Taylor also drew attention to the “soaring costs” associated with temporary accommodation.

“Broken” system

Councillor Chris Goodwin voiced his support for addressing what he deemed a “broken” housing system.

However, Tory opposition group councillor Dave Arnott proposed an amendment, criticising the motion for lacking tangible solutions.

The amendment was ultimately defeated, and the majority of councillors decided to move forward with the original motion, paving the way for a housing summit in the borough.

Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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