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The Role of Social Housing: An International Perspective. Presentation for Firm Analytical Foundations: Scottish Government 22/4/08 Professor Mark Stephens. Firm Foundations. Firm Foundations paints bleak picture of Scottish social rented sector: Decline:

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the role of social housing an international perspective

The Role of Social Housing:An International Perspective

Presentation for Firm Analytical Foundations:

Scottish Government 22/4/08

Professor Mark Stephens

firm foundations
Firm Foundations
  • Firm Foundations paints bleak picture of Scottish social rented sector:
    • Decline:
      • Predicts continued growth of owner occupation
    • Social composition changed from
      • typical of society in 1981
      • now disproportionately workless, elderly, sick, single
      • concentration of srs in deprived areas
    • But talks of its “reinvigoration”:
      • Wider range of suppliers (inc. private)
      • Wider range of “products” (mid mkt rent)
      • Discharge some homeless duties through prs
      • Physical and neighbourhood quality/ mix
international evidence
12 country review:

Size/ trends in srs

Ownership

Demand

Eligibility

Allocations

Income mixing

Excluded households

Homelessness

International Evidence
roles of social rented housing
Roles of Social Rented Housing
  • Supply function:
    • to meet housing shortages
  • Affordability function:
    • improve quantity and quality of housing consumed for a given income
  • Safety net function:
    • prevent homelessness among those unable to access housing through the market
use of private landlords as social landlords
Use of Private Landlordsas Social Landlords
  • Germany:
    • Historic system of defining “social” housing by receipt of subsidy
    •  time-limited social housing provided by private landlords
  • USA:
    • Private landlords whose properties are approved can receive rent-reducing subsidies that are attached to the property (i.e. they continue when the tenants leaves).
    • There are also portable voucher-like subsidies that can be used in the prs, but they end when the tenant leaves.
eligibility
Eligibility
  • Almost always income (and other) limits
    • But % population varies greatly
  • Various groups often excluded:
    • Rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, criminal convictions
  • Where programmes tightly prescribed (US) eligibility virtually determines allocation
allocations
Allocations
  • Matter most when eligibility drawn broadly:
    • Most systems work with a combination of ‘need’ and chronology
    • LA nominations a frequent feature
    • British legally enforceable right to housing (homelessness) unique
  • Outcomes (who actually housed) vary greatly:
    • ‘need’: English speaking countries
    • ‘affordability’: Europe – but how does this work?
use of sub sectors for excluded households
Use of Sub-Sectors for Excluded Households
  • Sub-sectors:
    • Lower rents and quality
    • Less security
    • Additional conditions
  • Examples:
    • Swedish “secondary” housing
    • French “very social” sector
    • Czech “holobyt” system
    • Hungarian “emergency” units
    • Polish “social” housing
international typology of role of social rented housing
International Typology of Role of Social Rented Housing

Very Poor and with Special Needs

(USA, Canada, Australia)

Very Poor

(UK: 50% national average income)

Below average incomes, but exclude very poor and most vulnerable

(France, Denmark, Sweden: 70% national average income)

role of srs relates to social economic context
Role of SRS relates to Social/ Economic Context
  • Safety net role where high levels of poverty/ inequality:
    • Most effective when combined with large srs let on basis of need.
    • “Ambulance” role where high levels of poverty/ inequality + weak welfare state + small srs.
  • Affordability function:
    • Associated with countries with less poverty/ inequality
    • But poorest in these systems often actively excluded
what does this imply for scotland
What does this imply for Scotland?
  • Do we look at the “problem” from the wrong end of the telescope?
    • Profile of social tenants a product of high levels of poverty (+ demography)
    • + a strong housing policy
  •  solution is not to abandon srs
relevance to firm foundations
Relevance to Firm Foundations
  • For social mix:
    • Providers are a secondary issue except
      • where alternative landlords used to disperse poor.
    • Mid-market rent: implies trade-off, but justified if benefits to poor through neighbourhood externalities?
evidence gaps
Evidence Gaps
  • We do not know the economic value of housing to its occupants; nor how this is distributed.
  • We do not know the economic value of subsidies of housing and its distribution.
  • Need property values in all tenures in SHCS.
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