What is Social Housing there for...
04/02/2011 11:06 am
I ask this not to pass judgment but because I would like to guage feedback from others - be it those working in Social Housing, those who are tenants and generally anyone who has an opinion!
Is social housing a right for all time irrespective of what happens in life - or is it a safety net to catch those who need it when they need it (and then passed to the next person who needs it when the original persons needs have passed)"?
Thank you :)
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07/02/2011 2:47 pm
Oh no, something is up
I find myself agreeing with Kass ! Well, the sentiment anyway.
Why should there be a stigma atatched to one particualr tenany type? Who created this reliance on "need" that is designed to create areas of high social and economic depravation ? (see posts passim)
I work in a large city. Someone form the north area wants to move to the south area because thier mum is not well. they have tow kids, and live in a three bed house. They, according to current policy, have "no housing need".
Try telling them that when they have to catch 4 busses a day to care for Mum which takes over 1 1/2 hours each way, and to this in between part-time jobs and childcare.
P'raps one of them could claim DV !!!!!!
07/02/2011 3:01 pm
Anon at 2.47
Is that not why there should be more mobility in Social Housing? The homeswap scheme should be overhauled and simplified, ie, a tenant wanting to move should get the HA/LA to approve the transfer in principal before going on the a homeswap register. So many transfers fall through at the last minute, wasting everyones time.
As for the DV comment - bit low don't you think.
07/02/2011 3:15 pm
The more you fragment social housing, the more you take away tenants rights the more you undermine social housing.
This means the whole sector will suffer, If you take dignity away from tenants - you take away dignity of those who work for and with tenants and in the sector. By depriving tenants of rights you deprive your whole sector from achieving progress.
The argument "we have to do the best with what we got" does not make sense if this involves taking rights and dignity away from tenants.
According to these "professional" thinkers we would have whole estates filled up with only mentally ill people, another estate filled up with only family with children, another estate filled up only by disabled, another estate filled up only with gay, or victims of violence, etc. maybe another estate filled up by people of the same race, etc...
social housing is more complex than that, you got to balance all the individual cases against a better and common good for all, otherwise you are just a nutcase.
Which other sector would say to their customers you have to live in a permanent state of anxiety? It only happens in the social housing sector, where tenants are seen as disposable goods that can be shifted, terminated, moved or left unmoved, etc. with very little control of the tenants themselves about their wishes.
07/02/2011 3:38 pm
Kass- well said (mostly)
anon @ 3:01. Muy comment about DV was partially made tounge in cheek. I, along with numerous others, could cite cases where customers have presented themselves as "homeless" because they knew thaty woudl be classed as priority needs, and be offered a tenancy in an area they wanted/needed to move into.
This is a sad inditement of the current housing system we are forced to operate within ie. where we are forced to use "need" as a basis for a basic human rught because of the ridiculous shortage of affordable homes
Ask yourself - why are there such large waiting lsits in every local authority area in the country. It is because people like to join a queue, or is it because there is a genuaine shortage of decent, affordable hoems in the country
Finally - to the proponenets of private rent - why else is the HB bill so high when landlords in a mostly unregulated sector can charge what they want? Reaserch in a number of LA areas indicate that a number of PR properties fail the "decent homes" test, people can be evicted because the landlord has not paid the mortgage..
Social housing may not be perfect, but it is preferable to have a RSL/ALMO/LA as your landlord
07/02/2011 4:08 pm
The problem is as you say- we house only on the basis of need- and current need at that, so a young couple of childbearing age will only be entitled to a one bedroom property, despite the likelyhood of them having a child, or two children, or 5- then it becomes a race to the bottom- the most needy, to most overcrowded.
I think Kass is also right to some extent, although the 'stigma' is purely because we are day by day getting close to the situation where only the very neediest will be granted any sort of housing, whilst those whose needs have changed ( such as older underoccupiers) are seen as a clog that needs to be shifted, albeit that housing staff take no pleasuring in wanting to move them on.
I'd like to see a situation where the private sector is regulated more so that it presents a more viable( and affordable) alternative to those who are unlikely to have a long term need for social housing.
07/02/2011 5:46 pm
I agree with everyone and can see everyones point of view.
Is the answer to part of this problem that social housing is meant for people who need help? And if that is the case then those people once their circumstances change should move on?
Then the next problem comes with affordable rents, private rents or buying their own home. Should subsidising peoples rents allowed? Should people not just pay rent dependant on the market value of the property?
As one poster commented if more Social Housing homes where built this would help the problem but then the flip side is why should someone pay less for the same size house two streets away?
But to move any debate forward the first question to answer has to be who is social housing for?
08/02/2011 10:36 am
Okay - so should social housing be available to everyone irrespective of means and if the answer is "yes" how do you fund that?
08/02/2011 12:04 pm
You come to the conclusion that social housing should be available to all o nthe basis of what has been said by someone onf this thread. Could you now say where in this thread any of the posters has said that social housing should be available to all irrespective of means?
08/02/2011 12:09 pm
Karen - 'social' housing serves a social purpose for the common good of the country and not just the individual tenant.
Affordable (however defined) is a key concept. Affordable for the tenant so he or she can afford to work. Rather than debate the concept in some abstract theory think what a worker on average wages can afford to pay in rent and especially in the capital. If the tenant is working it reduces welfare bill and increases the tax take for the country. Hence affordable in its lay sense benefits the public purse significantly.
How do you fund? Social housing breaks even...over time. It is the initial funding that is needed to build more social housing which in turn reduces state spending on private and unaffordable private rents.
It is the lack of investment over decades in social housing combine with the RtB which has seen the problem of capital funding become such a huge issue now.
Yet, returning to the opening paragraph more social housing does mean more affordability for the individual and for the country as a whole, we just dont have the political will to see that.
08/02/2011 12:52 pm
I absolutely agree in affordability but I don't know how to genericise that to a level that it would be more easily managed.
I also don't know where the finance will come to build more properties as I dont see affordable tenure creating enough income in the short to medium term.
08/02/2011 1:34 pm
The slight problem with "affordable" and "market rents" is that they are both linked to the avergae house prices.
As we all know, currently house prices are vastly overinflated to the extent where people need a mortgae 7 times thier annual salary (scary!) to buy a one bed flat - how ridiculous is that?
Thsi, in turn, leads to soemone, soemwhere deciding what the rent of a property will be - oh, sorry I forget, decidign the rental value of the property based on the "investor" needign to make at least 7 % return on thier investment. As house prices increase, so do so called "market rents".
This is in no way linked to avergage income in an area, and as banks start to lend again (the cycle will be repeated where house prices increase again, trust me), thsi wil lead to an increase in rents etc etc
If you are earnign the minimum wage, you are basically stumped (for want of a better expression). There is no way you can "get on the housign ladder" notr can you rent privately. Where do you then turn?
Social rent should be for everyone - it is not a about subsidsed rents, it is producing a quality product availible for people who want or need it
Choice is fine, but I thought the whole point of choice was just that, to allow everyone to choose, not just the wealthy (who can buy), and the people on lower wages have litle or no choice but to languish on a waiting list, trying to "better" themselves, when in fact all they want is somewhere decent to live.
How have we ended up in a society that is driven by home-ownership with no regard for the alternatives? Everything we do has to be linked to house prices, when they fall, it's like the end of the world. The answer , i suppose, lurks soemwhere in the very early 1980s
sorry, rant over
08/02/2011 2:53 pm
Quite right nonnie, and if everyone had access to land then total owner occupancy would not be a problem. If the current government want to be fair in their policy then allowing free access to set up home on any vacant land you choose must be made legal. If the rules of employment, tenureship, and the law are to return to the Dark Ages, then there should at least be consistency.
Perhaps we could adopt the housing policy of the Middle East and claim ancestoral rights to other peoples land and then move in on mass and build our homes there. No doubt Shapps would launch a 'not on my lawn' Law to protect his own little country pile.
24/02/2011 5:45 pm
When social housing was originally thought of the intention was to provide low cost accommodation for working class families in a time of widespread poverty. As with the welfare state times change, and so do the areas that need our resources.
I feel that right to buy coupled with lack of social house building has caused a shortage. Due to the low rental costs and security of tenure (unlike Assured shorthold tenancies), it is easy to see why there are long waiting lists for this type of housing. I work in housing options and homelessness, and a ever larger percentage of this type of housing is taken up by statutory homeless families. The new Coalition Government are hoping to change this, looking at ways to increase rent, reduce security of tenure, but also to give local authorities the option of discharging homeless duty with private rented accommodation. I feel this may have problems, but do feel that something has to change so that social housing is not simply reduced to homeless relief, that said stocks are so low I am not sure how this could be achieved.
24/02/2011 8:32 pm
For those with a real interest in the answer to this question, and to understand that social housing was not primarily about poor relief, there are many on line resources you can access.
Here is just one from the Leeds Tenants: http://tenantshistory.org.uk/history/index.htm
Read through and just perhaps a better understanding can be shared - and who knows, the past may teach us how to move forwards!
25/02/2011 11:36 am
Originally posted by Sarah Alden;
"I feel that right to buy coupled with lack of social house building has caused a shortage. "
Failure by successive governments to carry out comprehensive impact assessments of other, non housing related government policy has also contributed to the increased demand for affordable housing.
"Due to the low rental costs and security of tenure (unlike Assured shorthold tenancies), it is easy to see why there are long waiting lists for this type of housing."
Demand outstripping supply is a direct result of government policy. Undoing the harm caused by this dichotomy cannot be achieved by policies that further disenfranchise and disempower communities.
"I work in housing options and homelessness, and a ever larger percentage of this type of housing is taken up by statutory homeless families. The new Coalition Government are hoping to change this, looking at ways to increase rent, reduce security of tenure, but also to give local authorities the option of discharging homeless duty with private rented accommodation."
The condem's housing policy will directly increase the demand for private rented accommodation and improve opportunities for private landlords to increase the supply of punters who are left with no choice but to alot a larger proportion of their income toward paying someone else's mortgage.
"I feel this may have problems, but do feel that something has to change so that social housing is not simply reduced to homeless relief, that said stocks are so low I am not sure how this could be achieved."
That's easy! BUILD MORE HOUSES!
25/02/2011 11:38 am
Reply to Christopher Webb;
Wow, thanks for that! Forgot about the rent strikes; lessons from the past to inform and empower the present?
05/03/2011 9:11 pm
Thanks Poppy - who knows, communities may find the strength and will to stand together once more, especially when they remember that every time communities have stood together they have won and the elite have had to give ground.
06/03/2011 1:08 pm
I was at a conference on Thursday (3rd March) and asked 10 tenants (who were all new to me) why they lived with our current landlord (a transferred housing association).
3 elderly ladies said it was because they had tranferred.
1 elderly gent said the ame.
Of the other 6, 2 middle aged gents aid it was because the rents were at a reasonable level and affordable from their earnings and tax credits a they had fallen on hards times through redundancy.
2 of the remaining 4 ladies said it was because they couldn't afford to rent privately and work part time to support their families.
Of the remaing 2, 1 (mid twenties) had left an extremely abusive relationship and her accommodation provided a secure building in which she felt safe ... and the remaining youngster said she needed a home for her and her child who was conceived in horrendous circumstances.
This is what social housing is for -- a mix of reasons including 1 of the initial 3 who had sold her property to afford a retirement that she could enjoy in peace.
07/03/2011 11:42 am
A valuable contribution Rick, and if you applied the Shapps convention then at least five of the ten would lose their access to social housing, either on the grounds of having too much income or too little. For of the remaining five may also be out on their ear, but it is not clear whether they are too rich or too poor to qualify for a Shapps affordable home.
So only 1 in 10 can rest assured of housing under Shapps's schemes, as they fit the definition of vulnerable - unless of course they have a little income in which case it will be off to the private sector with them.