Non-Marriage Of Convenience: Affordable Housing For A Redefined Family

Family photo by Jim Muttram is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Can UK social housing reimagine this traditional family as four unrelated young adults?

Partnership and family have long been a first stepping stone into adulthood, whether a formal or informal union, plus or minus children.

But a conventional “Rush to Marriage” today no longer dominates the aspirations of many UK youth and young adults. With more and more individuals choosing to remain single, those with limited resources find their access to a social housing starter home is limited.

Much of UK social housing is designed for families. Social housing for single people is scarce. As well, unmarried singles have little opportunity to mitigate poverty by pooling rent, food, and other resources which make housing more affordable.

A recent report from the Joseph Roundtree Foundation has recommended steps to essentially broaden the definition of family to allow unmarried, unpartnered individuals without children to access some of the benefits of family social housing.

Housing pressures in other world markets have lead to growing numbers of informal arrangements of convenience by two or more single persons. In Hong Kong, the sheer unavailability of any affordable housing of reasonable size is leading to extremely cozy “co-living” arrangements. Consider: Marriage & Cohabition Has Been Downsized To Co-living In Nano Affordable Hong Kong

The Joseph Roundtree Foundation report recommends expanding access to UK social housing for families to include groups of “co-living” individuals. You can read their summary report here: Social sharing: expansion of shared housing in the social sector


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