Social housing has long been and still is very significant in providing affordable homes for people in the UK. They consist of local authority public housing and housing association homes that are non-profit oriented and offer accommodation to millions of UK citizens. Much has changed in the past few years, since most social housing programs have been redirected to private sectors for profit development and ownership of rental housing. Large-scale demolitions and redevelopment to create estates has taken place and in some cases there has been no replacement of low-income houses, leaving residents facing evictions, displacement and losing their neighborhood. This imposes huge negative impacts on the affected people, since homes and neighborhoods are essential in shaping a household’s social and economic well-being. Regeneration of these houses means the replacement of some old, decaying and dilapidated houses with more modern and efficient houses. However private developers create privately developed and owned estates and opt out of subsidy programs, thus converting the housing to market-rate and making it unaffordable for low and medium income earners.
UK policies have undermined the public housing sector. The millions of social houses that once existed have been sold out and not replaced, while others have been labeled for regeneration and refurbishment. Some evicted tenants have found themselves in houses that are so expensive with such high rates of insecurity in privately owned houses, while others have moved far from London to areas such as Newcastle. Communities affected by the restructuring require adequate support mechanisms to help them cope with the changes, and compensations offered for evictions are normally much below the market rate. Government officials support these for market led redevelopment agendas, despite the fact that large sums of public funding in terms of land and resources are being drained away from public housing into private housing developments.
Very remarkable regeneration projects throughout the country have involved a huge wealth transfer from the public sector to the private sector without necessarily having any tangible return to the community. The government is depending on private developers to build more profitable and efficient houses to solve the housing crisis, but they do not build public houses that most people could afford. If the housing market is not regulated, it does not solve the dire need for housing; instead it will help amass wealth for a few individuals and companies at the expense of the majority of the population. Rent controls are needed, since tenants also need better rights and securities.