What was the challenge?
There is a national housing crisis, caused by insufficient housing to meet the demand, some of the key factors are:
- Increase in house prices (2.5% in 2020)
- A reduction in house building in both market and affordable housing (a reduction of 35% in the last 12 months by the 7 top largest housebuilders)
- National Housing Federation state that 8.4 M people live in unaffordable, insecure, or unsuitable homes
This has resulted in housing affordability for first time buyers, increasing demands on private rent and social housing, rising homelessness, and those who are more vulnerable in society being exposed to even greater housing uncertainty.
The decline in house building in the UK, currently at levels not seen since just after the First World War, with 38% of houses in the UK built before 1946 and only 7% after 2000, makes the UK housing stock the oldest in the EU. This has created increased pressure to have the right level of housing stock available to a decent home standard and at an affordable price.
The Elderly Accommodation Council (EAC) has shared as a result of the growing ageing population by 2035 520,000 housing with accommodation units will be required. Mears was called on by Government and local authorities to be part of the solution to build 4000,000 extra care homes over the next 10 years.
What did we do?
Mears are the largest provider of emergency and temporary accommodation in the UK, providing vital housing for homeless communities and we specialise in more innovative forms of housing supply. Mears recognises that Local Authorities and individuals need access to good quality, safe and affordable temporary accommodation and public housing to be available. Mears has a variety of approaches to support assessing of land availability, help with future planning, budgets and current housing stock to devise new leasing schemes that will deliver value for money while enabling local authorities to effectively discharge statutory housing duty.
Mears has a multiplicity, flexible approach to help address the housing crisis by:
- Providing repairs and maintenance to ensure that our clients housing stock meets a decent standard.
- Providing Housing Management to the private rented sector; responsible for all aspects of housing management services, offering long term below market average rents.
- Optimising our position as the largest provider of emergency and temporary accommodation in the UK, we work innovatively with local authorities to support their housing need
- Homeless housing schemes including families
- Improved disused or void office/housing stock to become affordable homes.
- Provide temporary accommodation for asylum seekers whilst they wait for their claim for asylum is assessed.
- Building our Housing with Care offer that is currently providing 40 housing with care developments across the country. We are the only partner with Cornwall’s local authority for 11 bespoke schemes, to build, manage and deliver care across the county. We also build supported living for those with disabilities to live more independently.
- We are a trusted provider of housing to various central Government departments, including the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office. We provide affordable housing to ex service personnel, to key workers and to people seeking asylum in the UK.
What were the outcomes?
Mears has an engaged work force of 5,500 employees who, through the recent pandemic, delivered across all its service offering in a safe and responsible way to ensure vulnerable people felt safe and cared for. This included carrying out 6,000 repairs a day and managing 17,000 homes to ensure people live in decent, affordable homes.
Mears took an active role in writing the Green and White papers for social housing, taking the positive action to challenge proposals and input solutions.
Mears provides temporary accommodation for citizens from 129 countries, assisting those to overcome challenges around language and culture while their claim is being assessed.
Mears is proud of how it has improved service delivery and pay conditions in the care sector which remains severely underfunded. We manage the build, maintain and provision of housing with care and specially adapted living for those with disabilities to help them live as independently as they can. This reduces the cost on local authorities, NHS, reduces incidents of falls, reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing.