Have you been following the current conversation where we are challenging the views on social housing? We have received tremendous support to date with our aim to change the story of social housing. The general consensus is supportive, and I can see that there are many differing views on why it is important, as to why we need social housing, and how we should best promote it. Many of these even come from the same side of the fence as me. I can only say why I am personally involved and am so passionate about it and why I want you to be too –
Long story short, I believe in the Welfare State. Always have, always will.
Slightly longer, but still short (ish) story –
Access to Housing is a basic human right and I believe housing to be the foundation of society. Give a family a safe secure stable home and they can focus on the rest – health, happiness, education, being an asset to our community. If someone can’t afford housing, or medicine, or an education, then yes, I’m happy to ‘chip in’ and help provide that. I know the welfare state isn’t perfect, but its principles still hold true for me.
I will always support campaigns like the #councilhomeschat campaign on Twitter and Facebook so that I can help to spread the good word about tenants. It may seem like a ‘soft’ approach to some, but to that I politely say….. ‘Oh, poppycock’. People are now being bullied and vilified daily due to programmes like ‘Benefits Street’ and ‘How to get a council house’ and we seem to accept it as unavoidable, or a fair reaction – well I say “it’s not on”. Our staying silent simply reinforces the ideology that social housing is extremely undesirable and its tenants should be written off and avoided at all costs.
Ask yourself why you don’t commit crime, why you don’t steal from your neighbour. Ideally your first response would be a very strong, indignant “because it’s not the right thing to do!” That’s great, that’s good enough for me. However, you might also consider the secondary reasons – the vilification of society, the guilt, the prison time if you’re caught. Still absolutely valid reasons. So in terms of social housing, if you need more than just ‘doing the right thing’ to encourage you to sign up for the thunderclap I can add that with my ‘housing policy’ hat on, I want to see social housing as the tenure of choice again. That way, if we build it, they will come. With mass house building at an all-time low we are missing an opportunity to create jobs (paying a living wage), burst the housing bubble by stabilising rents, and help revitalise the economy. Housing is becoming more and more important to politicians because it could be the thing that wins them the election. Show them what you think about these issues and that you want money invested in it. I don’t think it matters WHY you care about social housing but just that you DO – with Shelter figures showing that 3.8 million families are just 1 pay cheque away from being unable to pay their rent or mortgage it could even actually affect you directly sooner than you expect.
Invite and encourage your tenants and colleagues to share their stories on Facebook, and twitter.
Please, make your voice heard.