‘We are not a charity’

An eloquent argument for social housing came from an unexpected source on Panorama last night.

The programme covered what it called a new housing crisis: homelessness and the private rented sector. The hook for Britain’s Homeless Families was the fact that the number of people being made homeless by private landlords has trebled in the last five years but it also looked at families stuck in temporary accommodation and facing eviction because of the benefit cap.

It began with the case of Vicky, who was forced to leave her home in Kent because she was on housing benefit despite the fact that she had never been in rent arrears and never had a complaint about her. ‘I’m a bit shocked actually,’ she said. ‘If you treated the property well and you paid your rent I couldn’t see what the problem would be.’

Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing


6 Comments on “‘We are not a charity’”

  1. Nick says:

    as a family of 5 we had to wait 15 years to be rehoused. we were living in a one bet flat at the time which i owned outright and at times things were difficult but owing to the kids being good we survived. we now live in a 3 bed semi from a housing association which i don’t own with a high rent

    the whole thing is a mess and this lack of social housing has been ongoing to my knowledge the past 50 years and that’s how it’s going to stay with the types of governments the people put into power

  2. PRS needs resolving and fast! The problem is, there will be a great deal of pain before any gain whatever the political make up of the next administration. Politicians are elected to serve! whatever happened to that principle.

    • julesbirch says:

      Thanks Steve. At least in Wales there is going to be registration and licensing. England is only grudgingly looking at issues like redress and agent fees despite effectively outsourcing its policy.

  3. Graham Hughes says:

    Just a though but when did the term “social housing” become current? I am old enough that my parents got a council house when my dad left the army after the war when large numbers of public sector houses were built to replace the housing stock that had been bombed out. I would think that was probably the biggest programme of public sector housing the country has seen. There was no thought of this being a “social” programme in the way the term is used now. Those houses weren’t intended for people on social security or the unemployed. Unemployment was insignificant then. They were to house ordinary working families. As a kid very few of my school mates were from families who owned a house. There were one or two and a few others who had an elderly relative who did so were hopeful when it came to the will, but most families rented. The ones who were out of work or really poor were more likely in really bad private accommodation but most working families where I lived were in houses rented from either the council or the coal board. .

    • julesbirch says:

      Thanks Graham. ‘Social’ really became current when housing associations took over from councils as the main providers of new homes, which meant you couldn’t really call it council housing anymore. But you’re right it’s come to mean housing for the most vulnerable too – because investment is so much lower than it was in the days when it was built for ordinary working families and allocations have been based on need.

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