Warn­ing over high hous­ing costs

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE HIGH cost of hous­ing in Lon­don is threat­en­ing to put cen­tres of Jewish life be­yond the pocket of many in the com­mu­nity, one of the old­est Jewish hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions has warned.

The In­dus­trial Dwellings So­ci­ety (IDS) wants Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions to con­sider in­vest­ing more in so­cial hous­ing to help groups un­able to buy a home in many parts of the cap­i­tal.

Micah Gold, an ex­ter­nal ad­viser to IDS who pre­sented new re­search on hous­ing needs at Lim­mud, warned that young adults in par­tic­u­lar are be­ing “priced out” of Jewish ar­eas.

The IDS has also found that el­derly Jewish peo­ple, liv­ing alone or in cou­ples, lone par­ents, work­ers in key ar­eas such as nurses or teach­ers, and large Charedi fam­i­lies are also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems in find­ing suitable homes.

Suzanne Wolfe, chief ex­ec­u­tive of IDS, said the re­search felt like “a real wake-up mo­ment for the com­mu­nity be­cause peo­ple are liv­ing longer and longer with in­creas­ing sup­port needs.”

The IDS, founded in 1885, man­ages around 1,500 homes in Lon­don with around one in six of its cur­rent res­i­dents Jewish. But it is look­ing to in­crease sup­port for the Jewish com­mu­nity within its over­all plan to in­vest in 500 new homes over the next decade.

Ac­cord­ing to a new re­port re­leased by the so­ci­ety, young Jewish adults felt it was “now nearly im­pos­si­ble for any of them to set­tle in Lon­don near tra­di­tional Jewish ar­eas”.

They wanted “con­nec­tion to the Jewish com­mu­nity, fa­cil­i­ties and so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties” but said it was “hard to live a Jewish life if you don’t have a con­nec­tion to a Jewish com­mu­nity”.

Apart from liv­ing with their par­ents, the only fea­si­ble way to live in Lon­don was in shared ac­com­mo­da­tion or to rent with lit­tle hope of own­ing their own house.

Some said friends were “se­ri­ously now con­sid­er­ing mov­ing out of Lon­don,” the IDS re­port found. “Places that were men­tioned their peers are set­tling in in­cluded Bed­ford­shire, Sh­effield, Leeds and Manch­ester.”

It added, “If th­ese re­ports early signs of a mi­gra­tion of Jewish young adults out of Lon­don, this could sug­gest a re­ver­sal of the trend that saw pro­vin­cial Jewish com­mu­ni­ties de­cline sig­nif­i­cantly” over the past 40 years.

The up­heaval of mov­ing pre­vented some older peo­ple in de­clin­ing Jewish ar­eas re­lo­cat­ing to be nearer fam­ily or Jewish so­cial net­works. Some in­ter­viewed by IDS felt their level of care had de­clined and some could not af­ford the cur­rent cost of shel­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Lone par­ents and key work­ers also said they wanted to live close to a Jewish com­mu­nity but could not af­ford suitable ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Some who were rent­ing prop­er­ties said they could never catch up with their home-own­ing con­tem­po­raries be­cause their rents were dou­ble the cost of a mort­gage and they could not af­ford to save for a de­posit.

Some peo­ple who would pre­fer to live in a Jewish area said an ad­di­tional prob­lem was that there were land­lords who would ac­cept only “those who can pay rent pri­vately” but not “peo­ple on ben­e­fits”.

The “most alarm­ing” hous­ing con­di­tions iden­ti­fied by the IDS were within the Charedi com­mu­nity. “Two adults and five chil­dren liv­ing a two-bed­room flat was nor­mal with some liv­ing in more over­crowded con­di­tions,” the re­port said.

The ben­e­fit cap and changes to hous­ing ben­e­fit had also “ex­ac­er­bated the sit­u­a­tion” for some. Ev­ery­body’s Talk­ing About Jamie, “where it was on sale, which was the week be­fore Laviot launched.

“I im­me­di­ately got in touch with Proud beer to see if we could ar­range some­thing be­tween them and Laviot but we haven’t re­ally had an op­por­tu­nity un­til Lim­mud.”

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Hous­ing in Stam­ford Hill

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