Talking About Housing

Funding at a glance

Programme: Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System
Amount: £381,084 grant
Approved: 2019
Timescale: Four years
Status: Funding in progress
Phase: Decent Affordable Homes Phase Three

Moving from Concern to Concrete Change

How we talk about housing matters. This project will bring forward new, tested ways to discuss housing so that the public is engaged and supportive of actions and proposals to transform the housing system. 

Why we are funding this project

The UK housing system needs reform to make it fairer and to ensure that everyone has access to decent homes that they can afford. These policy changes will only happen when the public gets behind them. However, while people in the UK are aware of a well-documented housing crisis, the majority don’t know what’s causing it and what could fix it. This project, called Talking About Housing, takes a social science approach that is helping the housing and charitable sector to frame its messages about housing so that the way we all communicate inspires action and drives change. It will help people see what’s going wrong and how it could be put right.

Strategic purpose

More ideas will exist for protecting and increasing the supply of decent, affordable homes.

Project description

Framing means making deliberate choices about how we communicate. It’s about understanding how people think and feel and telling stories that change hearts and minds. Talking about housing aims to change the discourse on housing and how it is understood. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Nationwide Foundation are working with the FrameWorks Institute to explore:

  • Public attitudes to housing: what do people think and why?
  • How does this align with the housing sector’s perspective?
  • How can we talk about housing to build support for the policy solutions we need to see?

By generating evidence on how to communicate effectively and convincingly with the public and stakeholders about housing, FrameWorks Institute will produce a toolkit and training so that sector organisations are all using harmonising messages that steer public thinking in a helpful direction.

By applying these new ways of talking about housing, the aim is that this in turn will change hearts and minds. It will build and galvanise public support, which leads to pressure for more political will to deliver positive changes to the housing system.

In early 2021, FrameWorks Institute published From Concern to Concrete Change, a guide for professionals in the housing sector about how to build public support for social housing. 

In November 2021, Communicating About Housing in the UK was published by Frameworks Institute. This document is a starting point for the wider Talking About Housing project and considers what the British public currently thinks about housing. It starts to ask what might be done to change these ways of thinking and build support for more genuinely affordable housing.

In February 2023, the Institute followed up on its previous work and published a framing toolkit to help communicators and campaigners in the housing sector tell a new story about homes. The toolkit explores five framing principles—developed through surveys, interviews, and rigorous research—for communicating with the public about the importance of good quality and affordable homes for a healthy, productive life.

The FrameWorks Institute’s research will continue over the coming years. There will be opportunities to hear about what it is covering and what it means for how experts should talk about housing across the sector. To keep up to date, visit the Talking About Housing hub here.

Back to funding 2016–present