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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Enabling people to move - England

Last updated Date:27/04/2012

Enabling people to move - England

Latest news

Improving mobility in the social housing sector is a key priority for government. Government has introduced a range of measures which will affect the way in which you support housing mobility:

  • government has launched HomeSwap Direct: a web-based national scheme that will allow social housing tenants wanting to swap their home to see every available property in the country
  • DCLG has allocated £13 million to help local authorities tackle under-occupation: government estimates that there are 430,000 under-occupied social homes in England
  • with funding from DCLG, CIH has established a Making Best Use of Stock team which provides free advice and guidance to local authorities and housing providers to support them make the best use of existing stock
  • the Localism Act 2011 gives local authorities the freedom to determine who should qualify to go on their housing waiting list and gives them additional flexibility to deal with under-occupation
  • DCLG has selected 12 local authorities to take part in a series of 'vanguard' projects to assess different and innovative ways of promoting mobility within the social housing sector.

Why is improving mobility in the housing sector important?

Improving mobility in the housing sector is important for a number of reasons:

  • improved mobility for existing tenants could help housing providers make better use of their stock (e.g. reducing under-occupation), improve satisfaction and quality of life, and give existing tenants a greater sense of fairness
  • the 2009 report Mobility Matters identified a level of demand for mobility in social housing from tenants that is not being met
  • greater mobility in the housing sector could lead to greater opportunities for tenants and support local economies by improving tenants’ access to training and work.
  • the 2010 report by the Human City Institute: Counting Costs estimated that the annual costs of poor mobility in the housing sector to wider society and the economy is £542 million


Our view


CIH emphasises the importance of setting the question of mobility within the social housing sector in a wider enhanced housing options approach.

We have argued that current housing advice services are focused on crisis management, and whilst this may help to prevent homelessness, a more sophisticated approach which helps more people to plan ahead to meet their aspirations would be beneficial to both service providers and service users.

Therefore, encouraging long-term planning needs to be augmented by helping people to save, access education and training and better-paid jobs. A key component in an enhanced housing options approach could be looking at opportunities for greater mobility for individual households.



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