The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Addressing the Future of Supported Housing Needs

The latest research commissioned by the National Housing Federation (NHF) reveals critical insights into the future demand for supported housing in England by 2040. With an aging population and increasing needs for varied support services, a significant expansion of supported housing is necessary to prevent thousands from facing inadequate living conditions or homelessness.

Current State of Supported Housing

As of 2023, England has 509,873 supported housing units managed by registered social housing providers, most of which cater to older adults. The report emphasises the importance of supported housing, which enables individuals from various vulnerable groups, including those with disabilities, homeless individuals, and survivors of domestic abuse, to live independently and with dignity in their communities.

Projected Needs by 2040

The NHF report projects a stark 33% increase in demand for supported housing by 2040, translating to an additional 167,329 units required to meet the needs of a growing and aging population. This increase is not just about numbers; it’s about ensuring quality of life and independence for our society’s most vulnerable.

The development costs for these additional units are estimated at £33.9 billion, with annual support costs expected to rise by 58% from 2024 levels. The financial stakes are high, but the cost of inaction is higher, potentially leading to increased strain on the NHS and social services.

Rural Affordable Housing: A Parallel Crisis

Rural communities face unique challenges: high house prices, limited social rented housing, and a surge in short-term holiday lets that exacerbate housing shortages. This rural housing crisis not only threatens the sustainability of these communities but also their economic vitality.

The NHF advocates for a long-term national housing plan that integrates the development of supported housing. Alongside this, the RSN’s "Winning the Rural Vote" campaign emphasises the necessity of incorporating rural housing needs into broader national strategies. This includes adapting policies to allow for the construction of affordable homes on smaller rural projects and ensuring that local needs for housing are met without displacing them to distant areas.

As we approach 2040, it is imperative that housing strategies encompass both urban and rural needs, recognising the essential role of supported housing in maintaining the health and well-being of the population. There is a need for comprehensive policy-making that addresses the spectrum of housing needs across England. By planning thoughtfully and inclusively, we can ensure that no one is left behind in our efforts to provide safe, affordable, and supportive housing for all.

 RSN Housing Analysis update:

Housing Insights on the RSN website has now been updated with an analysis examining housing affordability.  It provides for the chosen authority the ratio of median house price to median gross annual workplace-based earnings.

In 2022, houses in Predominantly Rural areas were less affordable to purchase for those in the bottom 25% of earners in Predominantly Rural areas than for the bottom 25% of earners in urban areas. 

Affordability of housing across England fell in 2021 to the lowest level in ten years based on this measure.  There has been some improvement to this situation in 2022 and 2023, but the lack of affordable housing in rural communities continues to be an issue, and it is important for the sustainability of communities that key workers are not squeezed out of the areas that they serve.  Explore this analysis further HERE.


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