Warning over high housing costs
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.”
Housing in Stamford Hill