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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04/02/2011 12:31 pm
social housing is there to abolish or reduce homelessness.
However once someone in social need of housing is housed social housing duty is to make sure his/her housing is safe, secure and lasting. Temporary social housing is not a solution to homelessness, as once social housing is made insecure, unsafe or unworthy, or tenants are not respected and protected as customers, it will fail to reduce homelessness.
04/02/2011 12:33 pm
I'll be honest I'm not really sure where I stand on this anymore. I started off in my career as an enthusiastic yet somewhat naive graduate trainee at a large RSL with a true belief that social housing was there to catch those with the greatest need. However (and PLEASE trolls don't attack me for this) after a while in Housing Management I became a bit more frustrated by those who blatantly worked the system to their advantage. This gives a bad name to those who genuinely are in need but it's what I witnessed.
If I'm honest, I don't think a tenancy should be for life and certainly not passed down to children. In an ideal world if the gap between social housing rents and private sector rents were reduced then the incentive for people to change their circumstances and move on could possibly be greater. There does however have to be a way of providing for those who are genuinely in need and are not in a position to change their circumstances.
I don't know. It's not simple to figure out given the system we seem to be stuck with and I'm guessing Shapps isn't going to do much out to change it. Just thoughts which I'm aware are simplistic.
04/02/2011 1:00 pm
Social housing exists because people need homes they can afford to pay for.
Social housing as 'starter homes' that (all bar the most vulnerable people) move on from once their circumstances have improved is the OZ way.
I think social housing as a choice that anyone can take, regardless of income, is the ideal way. There will be a small minority who will opt to live in basic need decent homes rather than don the mortgage noose but most who can afford it will exercise greater choice in style and substance. I do not think social housing should be means tested or ring-fenced and I do not believe personal or social value judgements about who should or should not qualify for an affordable rent or purchase is are helpful in an equitable or just society.
04/02/2011 1:09 pm
My view is similar to Lily's- I too joined the sector naively beliving that we were working for the common good, but too many years of seeing people maintaining massive rent arrears whilst taking regular holidays and having a huge LCD TV with sky package made me realise that for all the people out there in despearate need, or all the people who work their nuts off on the minimum wage to keep their rent account up to date, there are people who may not be actaually abusing the system, but are certainly taking full advantage at the cost of others.
I no longer see it as a right, but as a safety net- some people may always need that safety net and a home for life, others cling to the bottom of the net when as a society we should be shaking them loose (with support and assistance).
04/02/2011 2:16 pm
Social Housing exists because of the failing of the private sector to provide secure sanitory housing for people regardless of their abilty to pay. This led to the unprofitable position of a shortage of working people following deaths from exposure and disease. Without a mass working class to explot the elite had nobody to do the work for them. Thus the idea of providing basic housing for the poor was born, first by industrialists, but then, because the industrialists are clever, by the State. The industrialists realised that they could force the poor to pay through taxes what they had previously paid from profits.
A less brutal view is that the State recognised the basic human need for shelter, and as a prosperous country decided to enable all to be housed, regardless of income level. The original social housing was available to all, and indeed housed a diverse mix, from the poorest to the leaders of businesses. Only if, and when, such income blind access to housing is restored will we again enjoy the sorts of safe and secure communities we all desire (and some of us remember living in).
If, as Shapps contends, social housing is only a safety net for the most unfortunate and those without option then the outcome of this model can be looked at clearly as central Warsaw in 1943; but then if that what the Minister wants it appears there are many eager for him to succeed - his medai friends for instance.
04/02/2011 3:01 pm
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04/02/2011 4:59 pm
That's not what I meant by tenants blatantly working the system to their advantage, it has nothing to do with rent arrears so no, it is not down to the failure of housing management. I don't really understand the rest of your post to be honest.
04/02/2011 10:19 pm
So Eva's solution to rent arrears:
Stage 1. Interview, tenant check with passport and driving license (I have neither so would probably be evicted for never going abroad or learning to drive.
Stage 2. Gather evidence to value of the property owned by the tenant, wonder how much she will get for my blond blue eye teenage daughter.
Stage 3. send round the heavies, and refuse to do any repairs except emergencies.
Just forget the courts, signposting debt management advice, income maximisation or anything that would help the tenant keep their home.
This from someone who constantly complains about their landlord not following procedures, looks to attack them on anything they can find, even if they don't understand it, and complains about tenant rights being abused.
Sorry but if I was Eva's landlord, who she has not named at least twice, I would not want her anywhere near discussions on local offers, and as a tenant I would want it less.
05/02/2011 12:26 pm
I think Lily sums up view of many. I suppose practically social housing is there for whoever the Government of the time decides....previous labour goverment promoted social housing as a tenure of choice to a large degree, whereas coalition see it very much as a temporary safety net and stepping stone to home ownership
In my view we need a balanced housing sector that combines social housing that charges a rent based on ablity to pay, home ownership and a regulated private rented sector
07/02/2011 10:42 am
Thanks for your input - its nice to see a open discussion. Personally I'm more biased towards the "Social housing is there for as long as it is needed (not wanted) - when the need is no longer there the resources should go to someone in need".
Its a shame we dont have stats on how many people living in a social dwelling can afford to live in the private sector. its also a shame we have such a staggeringly unsound education of children with regards to financial management.
Its a shame affordable rents will never build more social housing properties so we've maxed out already on the properties available at social rent (all new properties will be offered at affordable rents). Affordable rents is a very good solution to a very specific problem, but in my mind, it doesn't solve the issue that we don't have enough Social Housing property as it is.
07/02/2011 1:13 pm
During the 1930s and 1950s , there was a massive house building programme in the UK, most people who work for LAs / LSVT / ALMO recognise them when they drive past.
When built, these estates were populated with people. No destinction was made by calling them "tenant" or "resident" nor was thier any social stigma atatched as the devisive term "soail rent" had , at that point, not bee coined.
The estates were generally pleasant places to live. Yes, some people were out of work but in counternance, some people would now be described as "middle class".
The point of "social housing" is quite simple - affordable homes for peole who want somewhere to live. They should not be seen as a cash cow (see RTB) - the mix of people in the 50s etc resulted in what we now, bizzarely, call "sustainable and mixed communities".
there is a place for such housing, provided for the people, by the people.
Finally, yes I do work in housign, and have doen soe for 15 years, so have seen my fair share of life, from all sides
07/02/2011 1:14 pm
Wow, nonnies are really out today, is there an open day at the asylum or something?
Hey nony would you care to expand on what else people in social housing should not be entitled to?
Holidays, computers, social life?
So if a relative gives my daughter a wii does that mean my need for social housing has ended and I should relinquish my home and become homeless? Or does it in the world of nony constitute a contract on that relative to support our housing costs else where?
Are we allowed carpets? Washing machine?
So being in social housing should restrict those who do work in their rights to how they spend the money they earn? Or are you suggesting that once work is found they should be evicted? Does this apply to any type of paid work? Part time minimum pay for example?
Or do you need social housing tenants to be second rate citizens with minimal quality of life and expectations to feed your over sized ego and make you feel better about yourself?
07/02/2011 1:18 pm
Dear Anon (12.40pm above)
I look forward to the day when someone you know that has worked and has a 42" TV becomes unemployed. Why dont you write to Shapps and ask him to add a rider to a new mandatory ground for eviction if you become unemploteyed. You know lose your house and lose your TV (and any other possessions over say £300) when one loses your job!
After all it makes sense with over 50% of those receiving HB working, you could free up millions of social housing lets that way.
07/02/2011 1:29 pm
you are contradicting yourself. There is not enough social housing to go around because of people thinking like you that social tenants should stop being social tenants the moment they can - even though their future with jobs and career could be quite risky and making them end up homeless if they do so and things go wrong.
there is not enough social housing because those thinking along your lines have given the right to buy to tenants without replacing sold off stock and without rebuilding enough new stock.
Your way of thinking is responsible for the fact that owning a property, rather than renting, social or otherwise is the best and respectable option.
to have a healthy social housing system, tenants must feel and be given rights that the property they live in ia exactly as important and repsected as having a private home.
To invest and care for their homes and community social tenants must feel as secure as a private owner is.
By attacking the rights of tenants and reducing social tenancies to temporary ones, reduces the dignity of tenants and makes them second class citizens. It also turns the whole social housing system in this country into a ghetto rather than a progressive expansive and decent alternative to owning.
After all if we all become owners why should we need a social housing system at all? the governement might as well shut it down, close down all SRLs, give us tenants an incentive to buy our flats, and sack every single person working in social housing. Now that would give us certainly a huge saving to beat any crisis.
07/02/2011 1:43 pm
I absolutely categorically deny that I am forcing anyone into buying a property at all. I actually believe there should be tiered levels: social housing rent, affordable rent, private rent, home ownership.
I'm sorry I don't subscribe to the fact that social tenants deserve better than anyone else has - I believe we should all be much of a muchness. I don't believe that renting a property to a person in need means you have a right to social housing forever.
I live in a rural location and work for a rural registered provider - we have high satisfaction, fast re-lets and very low rent arrears. We also have high underoccupancy and high needs. I want to provide a service where those in high needs get helped. To me, social housing isn't a lifestyle choice.
07/02/2011 2:21 pm
if you make social housing the ghetto for second class citizens, you are in fact forcing people to get out of it.
A social housing system with stable, safe and secure tenancies will always be more advantegeous for society in general and more cost effective for the sector.
the more you fragment tenacies in all sorts of ways as it is happening, to more waste you get, more burocracy, and be ultimately more expensive while at the same time making your customers and social residents live in a permanent state of anxiety and insecurity.
If that is being done on purpose it is a conspiracy agianst social housing. If that is being done out of incompetence and ignorance of what social housing should be, it will in the end be a catastrophe as social housing will be so bad it will be called social emergency and run by shelter instead of SRLS.
07/02/2011 2:29 pm
A conspiracy against social housing? For heaven's sakes Kass get a grip and stop being so dramatic.
Why exactly should social housing tenancies be for life? Because otherwise tenants are locked in a 'permanent state of anxiety'? Nonsense. The private sector manages with assured shorthold tenancies and I fail to see why people should cling on to social housing when others are in need. Overcrowded families living in temporary accomodation should be given the same opportunity that others have been given. For that to happen maybe those who are able to move on, should do so.
It would be wonderful if lots more housing were to be built so that there was no need to prioritise however I can't really see that happening. We need to make the best use of the resources that we have.