When the issue of housing targets comes up in the news one argument put forward for supporting extra housing are the numbers on the housing waiting list. Some recent reports now suggest this stands at 29,000. (The numbers are increasing but as of yet the HCR in Cornwall has not been revised unlike those in other areas).
People might assume that all of these households are currently unhoused. This is not the case. The majority of households live in a property but either have to move or wish to move to a more suitable property. According to the one breakdown – when the total was 22,000 – about 2,200 are in high need with another 5,100 in medium need. Too many indeed but a more realistic figure than those usually bandied about.
We could in one sense see a similar situation if there was a register of home owners who were thinking of moving. Some would as it were need to move for others it might be a desire. We would not equate the total numbers wishing to move with the number of houses required!
What the waiting list figures cannot tell us is why the housing ‘market’ is so dysfunctional – why houses are unaffordable, why building houses does not result in people getting houses.
And of course we also know that simply building houses does not solve the housing problem. If that were the case we would have achieved that long ago!