THE story of Georgina and Andrew Hamari, from Middlesbrough, illustrates perfectly the benefits of – and need for – social housing.

After living in privately rented accommodation, the couple, who are both registered disabled, have moved into specially adapted social housing. Mr and Mrs Hamari now say they have the support they need to live as full and independent life as possible.

“Our circumstances changed and that’s when we were looked on differently,” says Mrs Hamari. “I think there is a negative view of social housing.”

Housing charity Shelter has called on the Government to spend £214bn on creating three million new homes in a 20-year housebuilding programme, as well as extending the criteria for who is applicable to live in social housing.

The Government says providing “quality and fair” social housing is a priority. But in referring to “our ambitious £9bn affordable homes programme” which “will deliver 250,000 homes by 2022,” Communities Secretary James Brokenshire is in danger of missing the point.

Yes, he says some of those homes will be available for social rent, but if the vast majority are in the affordable bracket, these will still be out of reach for many people on low incomes. Last year the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded that “affordable rents” for typical two-bed properties work out at 30 per cent more expensive than traditional social rents.

This crucial difference must not be overlooked if those in a similar position to Mr and Mrs Hamari are to find decent homes.