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Half of social housing tenants feel ignored, new research shows

Shelter has launched a commission into the future of social housing in England.

Led by a panel of 17 commissioners and chaired by Grenfell community leader Reverend Mike Long, it will assess what social housing should look like in the 21st century and the role it should play in solving the housing crisis.

The housing organisation said it has launched the commission to address the crucial issues highlighted by the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, in particular the feeling among social housing tenants across the country that their needs are often ignored.

The commission was launched today alongside new research by Shelter and YouGov, which revealed that the experiences of Grenfell Tower residents are far from unique.

The research found that 48% of families living in social housing who reported issues around poor or unsafe conditions – from fire safety to mould and pest problems – felt ignored or were refused help. Almost a quarter of those interviewed said that they feel looked down on because of where they live.

Among the commissioners taking part are Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Ed Miliband, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Lord Jim O’Neill and Grenfell tower survivor Edward Daffarn.

The commission will include a series of roadshows across the country, a public consultation and a major piece of research with social housing tenants. A report will be presented before the end of the year.

Commission chair Reverend Mike Long said: ‘I hope this commission will hold a mirror up to society. We need to take a long hard look at why communities such as Grenfell have felt ignored, forgotten and too often like second-class citizens. The experiences of residents here in Grenfell are sadly common in many other parts of the country, too.’

Commissioner Baroness Warsi said: ‘Social housing is a key part of how we build strong, cohesive communities and give the most vulnerable a chance for a home. Getting our communities to work means getting social housing right, and we need to start this by making sure the voice of those who need social housing is properly heard in our national life. That’s what this commission will try to do.’

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