Monday, September 19, 2016

#HousingDay 2016 (A view)

 
Today is "#HousingDay 2016" a day that "celebrates positive impact of social housing on thousands of people across the UK. Stories by landlords, staff & ".

While I think this is a really good idea to challenge negative stereotypes about social housing and drew attention to its positive impact, there is a national housing crisis across all tenures - with unaffordable, poor quality and insecure tenancies in the private and social sector. Sky high property prices in many parts of the country also means that buying a home for many people is just never going to happen.

This is not actually a "housing" problem - it is a political problem. We need a political will to build more homes of all tenures.  If you increase supply you will bring down house prices and rents.

We need to move away from paying the mortgages of buy to let landlords with housing benefit and instead using this money to subsidise the rent of new build rented and shared ownership property.

There needs to be a democratising of housing for all. Most leasehold arrangements are feudal and allow freeholders to rip off leaseholders.

There is no real voice for tenants and residents associations any more in many parts of the country.

Many housing associations and councils are "mates clubs" and "union busters", run for the benefit of their executive and senior management with no accountability or respect for their residents or their staff.

Things can change. It doesn't have to be the way it is now. Maybe lets turn next years "Housing Day" into a national campaigning day, demanding access to truly affordable, well run, secure and good quality housing for everyone.

Things are so dire for so many people that we need a revolt rather than a celebration.
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