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Affordable Homes

The country is undoubtedly amidst a housing crisis with an increasing population, a shortage of homes, soaring rents and unaffordable house prices. All of which ultimately results in a significant rise in homelessness. I continually listen to politicians saying that the solution to the problem is simple- we need to build more houses!

This has been the stance in which successive governments have made for decades, yet we have simply failed to build the new homes that we need. 2008 saw the lowest number new houses being built in peacetime Britain since 1924, worryingly since then, the building industry has barely showed any signs of recovery.

Every year more and more people are being priced out of home ownership with demand outstripping supply and therefore raising house prices and rents to unobtainable levels. Average house prices are now 8.5 times the average salary. Having a full-time job no longer guarantees that employees can live in the city in which they are employed.

No matter how hard they work, it’s becoming more and more difficult for young people to save up and buy a home of their own. In the last decade, homeownership has fallen for the first time since records began.

Ultimately the levels of homelessness are rising as large numbers of people are being forced out of their homes altogether. The number of homeless has risen to over 50,000 per year. Some of these households have dependent children, who will endure years of uncertainty, often in temporary accommodation and more than 2000 people will have no roof over their heads at all.

As we face a period of political and financial uncertainty the provision of affordable homes has become a hot topic. The withdrawal of the public sector from house building has resulted in a chronic undersupply of affordable homes with only one in five new homes forecast to be built being classified as ‘affordable’ with as little as 6% of new homes being social rented housing.

With this in mind a Sheffield based not-for-profit business

with a commendable ethos of believing that everyone deserves the chance to own his or her own home, has developed an innovative approach to the problem. By converting shipping containers into not only affordable homes, but affordable energy efficient homes.

With projected energy supply problems in the future and ever-rising costs, Reach Homes are working on several schemes to include as many energy-saving features as possible. Passivhaus standard is the ultimate goal, which they hope to achieve in time, making the homes inexpensive to buy and cheap to run.

Jon Johnson, the man behind the multiple award-winning Reach Homes, plans to also help to get people back into work and provide an opportunity for those who struggle to gain full-time employment.

“We are trying to do housing in a different way and tackle the problems with affordable housing” commented Jon at a launch event in January 2017. “it’s basically a converted portable shipping container and we have packed it out with a pasivehaus standard of insulation and installed solar panels to the roof. When we come to build a few more of these we hope to we can actually do the calculations and bring in the first passive house shipping container residential development”.

“The idea of utilising shipping containers was one of the first on the table. We designed the homes to be cheap, quick to build and environmentally friendly, they will be connected to the mains, but the idea is to use as little power as possible,” he said.

Jon knew that they would have to look into different construction methods in order to build from scratch. By using some innovative insulation and building techniques along with sourcing the latest eco-friendly heating and power he has been able to develop a home of the future today.

To find out more or to contact Reach homes, click on the following link to view their website: www.reachhomes.org