Homes for All: A Vision for England’s Housing System 

Homes for all logo. Text says: Homes for All, A Vision for England's Housing System

On 23 April, Homes for All: A Vision for England’s Housing System was launched, with an aim to transform England’s Housing Landscape and ensure that everyone has access to a decent, secure and affordable home.  

Homes for all logo. Text says: Homes for All, A Vision for England's Housing System

by Jonathan Lewis, Programme Manager for Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System

Homes are more than just shelter or a place to sleep. They are the foundations of our lives and essential to our physical and mental health. Yet the harsh reality for millions of people is a home that is not only unaffordable, but also insecure and unsafe, undermining their health, and stripping away the sanctuary of comfort, safety, and stability that everyone deserves. 

England’s housing system is failing, but it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Homes for All has a new vision for the future of England’s homes. It is a national coalition of organisations and experts from across the housing sector, led by the Nationwide Foundation and the Church of England, who have come together to outline a hopeful vision for the future of England’s housing system – one that could deliver decent, affordable homes for us all, but only if we have the national courage and leadership to make it a reality. 

Why does England’s housing system need transforming? 

We believe that homes need to be: 

Secure: Homes need to feel permanent, a place to put down roots for as long as a person or family wants to live there.  

Yet in 2023, there was an ‘all time high’ of 104,510 households living in temporary accommodation – including 65,000 households with children (Big Issue, 2023). This means they are staying in a shared house, a short-term council or housing association tenancy, or a hostel, refuge or night shelter.  

Decent: Homes need to be warm, good-quality, safe and not pose a risk our health or wellbeing. 

Yet in 2021-2022, 14% of households lived in homes that fell below the Decent Homes Standard (Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, 2023). This means families are living in conditions that are dangerous, too cold, too hot or damp, which leads to poor mental and physical health. This has a negative impact on ability to participate in community or thrive at work and in school. 

Affordable: Homes should be genuinely affordable, not costing a significant proportion of their income or mean they don’t have enough money to enrich their lives in other ways. 

Yet house prices in England have risen by 377% in 30 years (ONS, 2024). Incomes have not kept pace, so far fewer people can save enough money for a deposit to buy a house. They are trapped in expensive rented accommodation from which they can be evicted at short notice. 

The challenges within England’s housing sector are deep-rooted. England has not had a housing strategy for decades, which has resulted in the housing policies of successive governments being fragmented and inconsistent. These policies, often characterised by short-term interventions, have failed to address the fundamental and systemic failures within the housing system. 

Failure to act now will worsen the current crisis and impact on us all: escalating homelessness, deepening poverty, increasing the burden on the state. We have a responsibility to change this – and to ensure all households have access to a place they can call home. 

What is the solution? 

Housing needs to become an urgent priority: we need decisive cross-party action and visionary leadership to transform England’s failing housing system and help deliver homes that work for everyone.  

We need to start with the end in mind: we need to break the pattern of short-term policymaking, to work in a more joined-up, cross-party way that thinks beyond election cycles and which, fundamentally, is driven and shaped by a long-term vision. Our plea to all political parties is to put short-term and party interests to one side for the greater good. 

We need to think systemically: any vision needs to be underpinned by an acknowledgement of the deep interrelationship housing has with other systems, such as health care, social care, social security, finance.   

There needs to be accountability: transforming England’s housing system means working beyond the boundaries of both party and Parliament, which is why we are asking all parties to reflect the Homes for All vision in their manifestos. Beyond this, we are urging the next government to secure the future and direction of housing strategy by urgently legislating for a Climate Change Committee-style national housing body that will ensure policy decisions meet the needs of England’s households. 

With all of this in mind, Homes for All has three key elements:

Graphic showing the three elements to Homes for All and how they lead into one another: The vision > the strategy > governance.  

Launching the vision 

The Homes for All vision was launched on Tuesday (23 April), with an event at the House of Lords the House of Lords. Over 50 people were in attendance from across the housing sector and beyond – including some of the coalition’s key supporters from organisations including the National Housing Federation, Crisis, the New economics Foundation and more. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury was a significant presence at the event, representing the Church of England’s key position within the coalition and a key driver of the vision, alongside the Nationwide Foundation. Additionally, speakers from across the political spectrum were in attendance – including Vince Cable, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats; Baroness Sharon Taylor of the Labour Party; and Baroness Kay Swinburne of the Conservative party – representing the need for cross-party commitment.  

The engaging speakers were followed by plenty of engaged discussion, amongst the broad range of invitees from across the housing sector and beyond. It was a launch event worthy of such a significant and visionary report. 

Vince Cable gives a speech in a room at the House of LordsA row of people attending the Homes for All launch

Why is the Nationwide Foundation part of this vision? 

While Homes for All is a new coalition, with a new vision for the future of a well-functioning housing system in England, this work has been at the heart of theA person holding a copy of the report under their arm work and projects that the Nationwide Foundation has been funding for over a decade. We want to make the housing system work for all, and under our Decent Affordable Homes strategy, our vision is for everyone who needs it to have access to a decent and safe home they can afford.  

The Nationwide Foundation and the Church of England have previously come together through two reports: Affordable Housing Commission in 2020 and the Coming Home Report in 2021, which both called for a National Housing Strategy. Homes for All presented a new opportunity to combine our resources and experience in the housing sector to call on cross-party commitment to a long-term strategy that reflects a vision of quality homes for all. 

The Foundation’s approach to changing the housing system is underpinned by our desire to approach it systemically: tackling the root causes by taking a long term approach, understanding the overall system and how each component bit relates to the others, and a commitment to understand how systems change happens by exploring the work of our partners through the lens of systems change technique and models. Homes for All was developed using the Three Horizons Framework, which is a framework that describes how systems change over time in response to a different imagination of the future; and the innovation it will take to translate that vision of the future into a new reality. Homes for All has therefore given us that vision. We now, collectively need to ensure it becomes our reality.  

How can you support the vision? 

Since the launch of Homes for All, a diverse range of experts, organisations and charities from across the housing sector have committed to support the vision. We are eager to expand this support and invite an even broader spectrum of organisations to champion the vision and help build momentum.  

If you agree with the Homes for All vision and would like help amplify the message, please reach out via email: or engage with us and share our content via the @HomesForAllEng Twitter account.