First published in 1998, this book addresses a central issue in housing: that of ‘need’ and how to meet it. Need refers either to individual household circumstances or to the aggregate requirement for new (social and market) housing. The book develops a new policy mechanism to address the present fragmented policy situation. The mechanism now used to allocate finance and new social housing numbers is complex and ineffective in terms of meeting needs. The book’s proposals are rooted in clear definitions of the key terms, especially that of housing need, which suffers from lack of any clear definition. The analysis is developed using a large database of survey information covering England and Wales. The proposed policy mechanism should be of great interest at a time when radical change to local government are being considered. The proposed mechanism would greatly increase value for money of public time and expenditure on (planning for) social housing.