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Surviving squalor, Britain's Housing Shame

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Fiz:
I watched this programme on ITV hub today. I knew some housing was bad but had no idea that some local authority housing was in such unliveable states. I thought I had seen unliveable before, but this is on a different scale. I'm pleased the programme stated that tenants featured were working full time to pay the rents so people couldn't think "benefit scroungers" could work to get themselves better accommodation. It was heart wrenching watching and made me so grateful for my social housing, that it's maintained and liveable. Viewing advisory, I wouldn't advise watching this programme if you're feeling low or vulnerable.

Sunny Clouds:
I just looked on the Youtube ITV channel at a 3 min trailer.  Yuck.

But unless I'm mistaken, Right to Buy is still there, with every house sold to RtB tenants sold at a loss.

I read a headline earlier today (can't remember where) that Starmers set to make Labour the party of the homeowner, so I can't see Starmer's Labour sorting this if they get into power.

My grandparents on one side retired to council housing.  All around them were people from a wide range of social classes, save for upper middle and upper.  The neighbours ranged from what now get disparaged as 'chavs' but were then 'working class' even if out of work, through to professionals, plus retired people like my grandparents. 

I get quite ranty about how the sale of social housing has led to greater class/social division and also far greater generation division.  I think both children and elders are far happier and healthier mentally in a mixed age environment, provided that both also have some age-related space.

Fiz:
The government stopped giving people secure tenancies some years ago and it's only people who have a secure tenancy given years ago that can buy their local authority home. Obviously some people do have secure tenancies but these tenants are getting fewer and fewer as secure tenancies are no longer issued. Of the 3 of us in my row of terraced houses who have secure tenancies, none of us will be in a position to buy them so they'll be handed back to the council and then others will gain a home with the new fixed term tenancies issued nowadays which obviously they have no right to stay beyond the fixed term which is a million miles away from buying housing. Very few tenants will invest in properties (decorating, carpets, home improvements) if they don't know how long they'll be living there. I'm very thankful for my secure tenancy though as it means that I can stay here until I leave in a box and won't constantly have to move like I did before. The cost of moving was unaffordable as was making each property habitable. I do see the need for fixed term tenancies meaning people who no longer need a property that size must downsize so people needing a larger property can have one but the moves and insecurity really affects people's mental health. Especially if the available properties you're offered are out of your area and you've lost your community.

Sunny Clouds:
Re downsizing...

When the government brought in the 'bedroom tax', our local authority put out press releases and did some advertising, including hoardings, pointing out that there was a shortage of smaller properties, i.e. it simply wasn't possible for even as many people as wanted to downsize before the bedroom tax to do so, much less when they were all desperately pleading to.

But the notion that the social housing shortage would be smaller properties not larger properties in some parts of the country didn't compute with our leaders.

You and I may not be aware of how things are in the next town, but ministers have access to civil servants to do the research for them, so they've no excuse.

I pity council employees having to tell people on UC pleading with them for somewhere smaller that there isn't anywhere.

That being said, I do know that some housing associations experimented with things like knocking down walls or making 'archways' to make fewer but larger rooms, just as some people bricked up windows back in the days of window taxes.  I suspect not many did much of the reduce the number of rooms thing because of the cost of it.

Meanwhile, another bit of fun in lots of places is 'exempt housing'.  Cut the funding for people who need extra support to get it properly and pay landlords extra with no minimum actual support.  Cue outrage in various towns and cities as certain private landlords are raking it in filling vast numbers of properties with people with addiction problems, people with severe mental illness, young people just out of care (some as young as 16) lacking life skills etc.  Neighbours going bonkers over antisocial behaviour as people needing support go mentally downhill without it.

All good fun and the people that 'cause' the problems are blamed, not those that failed to give them the support they needed, leaving them unable to cope without causing problems.  People with problems who soon get seen as problem people.

Fiz:
I think my local authority may be unique. 90% of it, the centre, is National Park and can't be built on. It's extortionate to live there and so our MP is and always will be a Tory because most of the constituency are stinking rich. My town on one side of the National Park, a town on the south west of it and a town on the north west of the park are therefore gaining all the new housing developments left right and centre as the whole large area's new housing is going into the three towns. We've gained a lot of social housing and as independent shops have closed due to the onset of online shopping and supermarkets providing everything under one roof the town is now a charity shop cartel with nothing to do in it and crime has risen. The smaller social housing properties seem to be in the north west side of the national park town so would require a 50 mile relocation with the public transport between the two areas being one daily bus so it splits families and communities up. I think we're unusual in that the local authority is building new social housing. Many areas haven't built any in years. Chichester doesn't even own any social housing and provide none at all! Part of me is sad that I will have nothing to leave my children as a non property owner but part of me is happy that a family in need will gain a home. One day.

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