“It all needs a bit of a rethink” according to residents across Manchester who boarded an eye-catching video-diary VW Campervan this week to share their views about housing in the city.
Housing and community services provider One Manchester hit the road stopping in Gorton, Hulme and on Oxford Road to find out what people living and working in Manchester think are the housing challenges facing the city and what they think could be done locally to help.
Around 30 people recorded video messages with their views on housing, including their experiences of renting or trying to get onto the housing ladder, with some taking advantage of an online calculator to work out how long it would take them to save for a deposit on an average house in their area.
22 year-old Levenshulme resident, Ally Wilson, calculated it would take her a staggering 38 years and three months to save for a house deposit. She said: “As a recent graduate, it’s difficult for me and my friends to get our rent together. That’s partly because rent is high and also because we don’t earn enough to pay what Manchester is currently demanding. Especially if you work in hospitality as I do, it’s full of zero hours contracts, so we often can’t rely on getting enough shifts together to be able to pay our rent. My rent is only £325 a month but that’s really hard to get when we don’t earn enough every week.
“Obviously there’s a much bigger issue here in the sense that not everybody in Manchester has somewhere to live. When you walk through the city, there are so many people who unfortunately don’t have a place to live. There clearly isn’t enough housing infrastructure in the city to help those people, so I think it all needs a bit of a rethink.”
The roadshow was part of the #GMHousing campaign led by the National Housing Federation (NHF) in conjunction with Greater Manchester Housing Providers, which is calling on whoever is elected Greater Manchester Mayor next week to make housing a top priority and work with organisations like One Manchester to tackle the region’s housing crisis.
The campaign follows on from the NHF’s recent Home Truths report which showed the average house price in Greater Manchester to be £169,893 – seven times the average income of Greater Manchester residents.
Dave Power, chief executive of One Manchester, said: “On 4th May we’ll have the first ever election for a Greater Manchester mayor, which gives us all an opportunity to focus on the issues of housing.
“We are currently building about 6,000 homes a year in Greater Manchester and we need at least 12,000 so clearly there is a shortage. We need housing of all types too – good quality rental, and homes to buy which are affordable and suit people at all stages of their lives.
“Whether you buy or rent, everyone has a view on housing. We want to hear these, so that we can work effectively with a range of partners to meet the needs of our existing and future customers.”