Editor: Every single house should be somebody’s castle ...

This city has a growing homeless problem and yet thousands of houses in our city stand empty.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 6:37 am
Sheffield slum clearance in full swing.

Now those two things aren’t necessarily linked and we can’t just plonk homeless folk in random buildings but it does make you think.

There is also a housing crisis.

Young families can’t afford to get on the housing ladder and I know many people who don’t think they will ever get keys to a house that they actually own.

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At least they have a roof over their heads but in a country that seems intent on doing away with social housing rather than increasing it, something needs to change.

I remember getting our first mortgage when our daughter was just two years old – 20 years ago!

It felt like a massive amount of debt to be getting into but it was what everybody did.

In fact, a lot of my friends had bought houses a few years earlier and the scary rate at which prices were increasing seemed incredible.

None of us thought it would last. It seemed unsustainable. In our meetings with the banks, there were mutterings of bubbles bursting and interest rates having no choice but to increase.

Clearly neither of those things happened and the problem is now far worse for the next generation.

Imagine what it will be like in another 20 years. Will our children look back as if this was a golden age in affordable housing?

Maybe the system will crumble or maybe, just maybe, politicians will realise the scale of this problem, take some action and bring change.

Today 4,774 properties in Sheffield are completely empty and, unbelievably, that figure is up four per cent from 4,585 last year.

Of those, 2,842 had been gathering dust for six months or more, and at least 997 had been abandoned for more than two years.

You can read the full story on P7 and draw your own conclusions.

In the meantime, this city desperately needs more affordable housing and, crucially, it needs the long overdue Local Plan so we can get this fixed.

It isn’t those in power who face this problem personally but, if they don’t deal with it soon, it will only get worse. We cleared the slums but didn’t anticipate a lack of decent housing in 2021.