Housing: a helping hand

The impact of stagnating salaries and rising housing costs is becoming clear for many in the teaching profession. Our CEO Julian Stanley looks at what help is out there.

It is well documented that in some parts of the UK, affordable housing whether rented or owned is increasingly scarce whilst demand has led to deposits and rents in the private sector has spiralled.

Salaries and secure incomes for many have meanwhile stagnated or depreciated in value creating greater financial strain for many more working people. What seems to be changing is the number of professionals whose circumstances mean they can no longer make ends meet.

For some education professionals, NQTs living in high-demand areas for example, supply teachers and others without secure contracts or those dependent on one salary, this can be a particular issue.

Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity describes the UK’s housing market as ‘fundamentally broken.' 

Fewer people can now expect to ever own their own home and the private rental sector is increasingly unaffordable.

In April Shelter published research that revealed that typical new homes built today are now out of reach for over eight in ten (83%) working private renting families across the country. 

We have seen a surge in teachers applying to our grants scheme in our major cities and areas where pressure on housing and living costs are high. Whilst we are pleased to be helping more, we are extremely concerned that this year is set to be our busiest yet in terms of grants given to help with housing costs, most commonly rent arrears and rental deposits.

Carl, who manages our confidential grants service, explains:

“Last year we helped 300 people who were experiencing a financial crisis in relation to housing; just half-way through this financial year, this figure had already reached 350 and as we head for Christmas, continues to rise. Almost half of the grants we give now relate to housing and 2017 is on course to be our busiest yet.”

This is echoed by the Teacher’s Housing Association, an organisation that provides more affordable housing for those in the profession. Having marked its 50th anniversary this year, they also say demand has never been higher. Their chair Chris Bright explains in their annual report:

The housing need of London’s education staff in particular is even greater now than when we began housing working teachers in the mid-70s.” 

Housing insecurity can put immense strain on mental health and wellbeing and for teachers, a great additional burden on top of the pressures of the role.

We first spoke to Tara, an experienced secondary school teacher in Bath early this year. Just a few days before Christmas her landlord decided to sell the house that had been her home for three years. A single parent with two children, she quickly discovered that her salary was not enough to rent another home that would not be too far from her work or her children’s school.

She explained;

“I was already spending all my spare time working as a tutor and marking exams just to pay for groceries and to avoid getting into debt.”

The cost of moving including a very large rental deposit now expected was impossible to meet without savings. The council were unable to help her and she was struggling to concentrate at work. Tara eventually shared her situation with a fellow teacher who told her about Education Support Partnership’s grants service.

Carl deals daily with applications to our confidential service and we were delighted that the charity was able to help Tara who had very real fears that she could quickly become homeless.

Helping with a rental deposit and moving costs, Tara and her children will now spend this Christmas in a secure home.

Further information