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OPEN LETTER: The current ‘affordable housing’ model is failing

OPEN LETTER: The current ‘affordable housing’ model is failing

Friday 15 October 2021

OPEN LETTER: The current ‘affordable housing’ model is failing

A reader has shared this letter to the Housing Minister arguing why using market rate to set rent levels is unsustainable.

Here's what Robert Waring-Jones had to say to Deputy Russell Labey...

Dear Minister,

In light of recent media announcements regarding the setting of rents by the main social housing provider, I share this essential reading.

I continue to believe the current model engaged in Jersey for the provision of so called 'Affordable Housing' is failing. Using market rate to set rent levels is unsustainable resulting in additional burden on the tax payer via the IS Housing Component, and indeed, household incomes being stretched too far in order to meet ever higher housing costs. When setting rent levels, I believe government first needs to understand and accept, what is an appropriate percentage of household income to be set aside for housing, whilst providing households sufficient income to meet all the other financial commitments necessary to live in the island.

We have a crisis of affordability in Jersey and the situation is worsening with other higher costs, not least fuel costs, also hitting the least well off the hardest. Recruitment is also an issue across the board, including within our Health Care Sector, Public Sector and the well documented problems being experienced in Hospitality.

I fail to understand why the Government of Jersey continues to use Market Rates by which to measure and set rents in the Social Housing Sector. Key worker accommodation is needed and should form part of the same policy yet, as my own family are currently experiencing as they endeavour to move back to Jersey to work in the Hospital, its a nightmare to find an affordable home.

I continue to hope someone within Government at least in the next Assembly can take the necessary steps to address the worsening crisis in the provision of what should be, access to a genuinely affordable home.

Robert Wareing-Jones
Grouville, Jersey

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