The UK is in the middle of a housing crisis and this December Channel 4 will air a season of special programmes to investigate why and demonstrate possible solutions.
Almost two million British families are currently on the waiting lists for social housing, and thousands live in unsuitable temporary accommodation or are struggling with soaring rent payments. Cutbacks and the recession also mean that homelessness has become a very real threat to thousands across the whole social spectrum who are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, one million properties lie empty across the UK – 350,000 of these for over 6 months – even though many cost huge amounts to keep secure – a bill often footed by taxpayers. In some areas whole streets of houses stand deserted, damaging the local community as well as local businesses. In others, empty stranded houses are a blight on the local landscape attracting vermin and depressing surrounding property prices further.
For The Great British Property Scandal season, Channel 4 will investigate some of the complex and varied issues that have contributed to the housing crisis and speak to some of the people affected by it. Fronted by some of Channel 4’s best known property faces, each passionate about their own area of expertise, the programmes aim to raise awareness and showcase some possible solutions.
Dispatches: Landlords from Hell
Monday 5th December, 8.30pm, Channel 4
As homelessness figures rise and the Housing Minister calls upon local councils to tackle the problem by forging closer links with private landlords, Jon Snow returns to investigate for Dispatches the reality of life for families who turn to the authorities when they find themselves without a roof over their heads – and end up being left at the mercy of private landlords.
The Great British Property Scandal
Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th December, 9pm, Channel 4
George Clarke is on a crusade to tackle Britain’s housing crisis. Nearly two million British families don’t have adequate housing, and yet one million homes lie empty across the country. Appalled at this senseless waste, George will be examining the underlying causes and investigate possible ways to bring these properties back into use. He will lobby the government and local councils to support him in his campaign to make a real dent into the number of long term empty properties, and show the public how they can get more involved and change their community for the better.
Phil’s Empty Homes Giveaway
Wednesday 7th December, 9pm, Channel 4
In the current economic downturn, the UK’s “squeezed middle” is finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Homelessness is no longer something that only happens to other people – some experts say that many find themselves only 3 steps removed from ending up without a roof over their head: those who lose their job and separate from their partners can come perilously close and it often only takes one more thing to go wrong – such as getting ill – and they end up on the street. In this programme, Phil will meet some of those who have ended up on the streets, and will help them find a roof over their head and the opportunity to get their lives back.
Kevin’s Grand Design
Thursday 8th and Thursday 15th December, 8pm, Channel 4
Having spent over a decade observing other people build their dream homes, Kevin McCloud has embarked on his very own Grand Design. Britain does need to build more homes as part of a way of overcoming the housing crisis, but Kevin passionately believes we need to do it better. It has taken him five long years to bring his own project to fruition and this two part series follows Kevin as he embarks on his dream to build beautiful, affordable, environmentally sound and community-friendly social housing that people actually want to live in.