Severe shortage of council houses in Sheffield, with more than 12,000 people on waiting list in 'desperate' need

There are 40,000 people in Sheffield on the waiting list for a council property - and more than a third are in desperate need.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 2:06 pm

There is a severe shortage of council properties because many have been swallowed up by Right to Buy, while the number of new homes being built hasn’t matched demand.

Between 300 and 400 homes a year in Sheffield are lost through people buying council properties.

Since 1980, well over 32,000 council homes in the city, particularly houses, have been lost due to Right to Buy.

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Over 40,000 people in Sheffield are on the waiting list for a council property

There are now just under 39,000 properties left.

The council has lost rental income and Government imposed rent reductions means there hasn’t been any money to invest in new homes.

Coun Paul Wood, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, told a meeting: “We have 12,000 people on the urgent waiting list out of 40,000 in total.

“A lot of people who put their names down at 18 are in their own homes now but have never taken their names off the list.

“There are 12,000 with desperate issues. We hope to get up to 400 off that list each year but it will still take a lot of years to deal with it.”

Janet Sharpe, director of housing and neighbourhood services, said Right to Buy had not only depleted the housing stock but also altered neighbourhoods.

She said: “It’s not just the sale of council houses, it’s when you get multiple landlords and spend a disproportionate amount of time resolving other landlords’ responsibilities which has a detrimental effect.

“It’s the impact over the last 30 years and how this has changed our neighbourhoods. You may have two properties side by side, one rent is £89 a week and the other one is £150 a week. If people are on benefits, it has a significant impact financially.

“We used to have 70 per cent houses and 30 per cent flats but it’s more 50-50 now. We need affordable homes for young people, older people and people with disabilities. Homes go to people with priority but that reduces the amount of choice.”