The Bartlett School of Planning


Dr Ben Clifford joins inquiry into solutions for homeless households

25 January 2023

How best can we convert empty commercial property into affordable housing to create solutions for homeless households?

Tents on Southbank

BSP's Dr Ben Clifford will be acting as an expert adviser for the APPG for Ending Homelessness and for Housing Market and Housing Delivery's joint inquiry into how best to convert empty commercial property into affordable housing. 

The Groups are seeking views on how office and commercial space could be converted into genuinely affordable, decent housing to boost supply for those experiencing homelessness and other low-income households.

The inquiry comes against the backdrop of the chronic lack of affordable housing. Just 59,000 new affordable homes were delivered in 2021-22 compared to the estimated requirement of 145,000 a year. Of these delivered homes, only 65% were for rent, and only a very small proportion for social rent.

To truly prevent and end homelessness, more social rented homes that are genuinely affordable to people on low incomes must be delivered.

Dr Ben Clifford's research has led to improvements in permitted development rights in England. His recent work has focused on local authority housebuilding, deregulation and planning – particularly in permitted development in England – outsourcing and the public interest in planning and infrastructure planning.

Read more on the Crisis website.