Homeless at Christmas?


As providers of ethical accounting services, at GSM we're always thinking about others, especially at this time of year, particularly the homeless, and that's not just those who are without an accountant for the new year.

For these organisations, there's always an open door at GSM to discuss their development, growth and solutions to their business problems, right across sectors, for diverse organisations whether they be within the Charity and Not For Profit sector, to those in Property - just two areas in which we have great experience and in which we have honed our expertise over 100 years. But, in the run-up to Christmas, you'll excuse us if our focus of attention here diverts just a little.

In a similar way to how a new accountant can regenerate your business, a new home can provide an infrastructure for a new lease of life for an individual or family.

Indeed, Crisis, the homeless charity, is lobbying hard to ensure housing supply targets are informed by evidence on the scale of homelessness in the UK, within their current 2018 plan:
Everybody in - How to end homelessness in Great Britain.

While we and our long-standing clients are celebrating our 100th year, Crisis is perhaps less than happy it is commemorating its 50th anniversary - although for its work alone it should be lauded for this great milestone. But it may also be considered a millstone, as there is still a great need for their services, together with their perspective to inform and shift government and public opinion.

As they state, there are almost 160,000 households experiencing the worst forms of homelessness in Britain and if we carry on in this vein, this is expected to almost double in the next 25 years.

The scale of the requirement is clear. With housing undersupply, affordability problems and many areas, particularly in GSM's core area, London, of highest housing pressure, housing development targets are falling short.

While housing needs cannot be met instantaneously, there are initiatives that have been introduced and more afoot to maximise developer contributions to affordable housing. This of course opens up commercial opportunities and tax benefits to the enlightened within the property sector, a good number of whom we've advised over many years to ethically grow in the property sector.

Getting everyone housed is a tall order. Especially when there is significant variation in house prices, affordability and development economics across the nation's housing markets. So interventions to tackle homelessness will be shaped by local market conditions, and ideally be responsive to the varying levels of what people need.

It is in this way, that our property sector clients, we at GSM and it seems Crisis advocate a mixed economy approach to meet the need for secure & affordable homes in a mutually beneficial business relationship.

In our monitoring of the sector and new housing development, one recent trend has been the growth in redevelopment of commercial buildings for residential use. This accounted for 17 percent of additional homes in 2016/17.

In England, however, these schemes are not subject to section 106 requirements - the planning system allowing local authorities to seek a proportion of affordable homes on new housing developments through legal agreements. These are known as section 75 agreements in Scotland. This further undermines new developments' contributions to meeting affordable housing needs.

Though a well advised property development company may well see the opportunities to gain a greater foothold with a greater number of developments for those local authorities who are addressing weaknesses in the Section 106 process.

For this and other well intentioned accountancy advice, a roof over your head can be found at GSM. Contact us today. For a roof over someone else's head, less fortunate, might we suggest you support Crisis this christmas.