THE BLOG

Say Yes to Homes to Solve Our Housing Crisis

21/02/2014 09:01 GMT | Updated 22/04/2014 10:59 BST

The housing crisis. It might just sound like a dramatic newspaper headline to you, but the chances are it will be having a real effect on you or those close to you, now or in the very near future.

It could be that your rent is too expensive to have a decent quality of life, let alone save for the impossible dream of buying your own home. It could be that you are one of millions paying more than half your income on rent. You could be a parent with teenage children, worrying about where they will live in a few years' time, or you might have adult children who can't afford to move out of the family home. You might even be worried about finding a decent quality smaller home for your own parents as they get older and more frail.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you know from personal experience that we have a housing crisis. Based on current projections, all these things are going to get worse. And yet the solution is obvious. We need to say Yes to Homes and build more of the right homes, in the right place, at the right price.

Easy. Instead of the terrible mess we have created, we could have a country where everyone lives in a decent home at an affordable price. And it really is easy. We know how to build homes. We have plenty of land - despite what some people will tell you. As a nation, we can afford to make the investment which puts people back to work, is good for the economy and which delivers great homes. It will take time but it is possible.

So why are we not building?

Far too many people are saying 'no' to the desperately needed new homes in their community. It only takes a handful of people to block the new homes that are a lifeline for many.

When the 'no' voices are the only people putting pressure on local politicians (who decide if housing gets built), their views are heard loud and clear. The people who actually need homes are often silent - not least because of their poor housing - and missing from these crucial local debates.

In the end, the decisions that politicians make, both nationally and locally, are dependent on what their voters care about. When there is a public clamour for things to change, that's when politicians decide to make these changes.

So those of us who believe strongly that we need new homes have to make a much bigger noise. The clamour has to be insistent and become something that can't be ignored. I want people who say yes to more homes to be critical in the decisions our local councillors make about new homes, and our national politicians make about major investment decisions. We cannot afford to be drowned out by the 'no' voice.

As I say, there is a solution. Build new homes. When people speak up by signing the Yes to Homes petition and show their councillors that they do want the right homes, in the right place, at the right price, the people who are priced out and badly housed, or are trying to get on the housing ladder, dreaming of moving on will at last stand a chance.