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Housing associations have become increasingly

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Introduction

Housing associations have become increasingly important in recent years? Why have they grown and what are their prospects for the future? Housing associations over the past century have constantly played a role in providing housing for people in need. The creation of housing associations emerged from the problem of people, on low incomes, not being able to access housing of a 'socially acceptable standard,' at a rent they can afford. Today decades on the overall aim of housing associations has not changed, however, there has been a dramatic changes in their importance and their size. Housing associations can be described as businesses for neighbourhoods. They are non-profit-making bodies, run by voluntary committees, which provide housing for rental or sale. They work in partnership with local authorities and other areas with an aim to produce homes that are both affordable and of a decent quality. Today due to recent developments they now combine public and private money in an effort to implement government housing policy. The emergence of housing associations over the past fifteen years has been one of the biggest changes the housing sector has seen. ...read more.

Middle

In the same time period the role of the housing associations has grown significantly, with total stock levels increasing by almost 130% and these organisations now represent around over 30% of all social housing stock in the UK, compared to just 12% in 1991. Today 170,000-200,000 units are being transferred each year as this trend has continued. These associations have essentially taken over from where traditional council housing left off. As housing associations role in the social housing market increased with more rights the role of the local authorities has diminished as more of their power is taken away. Increased government funding for housing associations has also increased their status in recent years. The government provided substantial funds to housing associations to assist local authorities' provision of housing for homeless and people in temporary accommodation. This saw the start of housing associations shift from the rehabilitation of housing towards the role of building houses which over the past ten years has continued to grow. Today housing associations have taken over from local authorities the responsibility of providing most of the new-building of social housing. ...read more.

Conclusion

This means housing associations are highly likely to continue to be the main providers of social housing in the near future. The current New Labour government has plans to bring all housing in the UK to an acceptable standard by 2010. The recourses needed to achieve this may leave many local authorities with no choice but to transfer their stock and result in the creation of even more housing associations. There are however some concerns for the future. The privatisation of some housing associations has also emerged and is a trend that seems to be set to continue in the near future. These new commercial associations are now expected to run as private enterprises, moving away from traditional, not-for-profit organisations towards more commercial approaches. This raises issues if they are still independent voluntary led organisations and the effects this could have on the social housing sector which housing associations now dominate. New Labour has recognised that investment in social housing needed to be increased. The way they decide to invest this money could have further effects on housing associations as well. ...read more.

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