First Post – Why am I Here

As a Socially Housed tenant (24 years) with many many people contacting me since I set up a support group for us who feel devalued over the last decade or so, simply due to our housing status, I have struggled with being made to feel 2nd class for the last 8 or so years.

Far from being able to be proud about our homes we are now barraged daily with bad publicity / media sensationalism around the socially, mentally & financially inferior “Social Housing” Asbo generation.

I never had a problem with people knowing my status until the last few years as immediately upon finding out that my (Let me add, well kept, re-modelled, decorated, fully paid for by me) house is not owned by me but by a Housing Association – I am tarred with the “Second-class” brush.

This is not just by society, this is in law also.

We do not have the same rights as private owners – in fact if you live in a property that is identical to one which has been sold via right-to-buy (even if it is next door/above), you are immediately disadvantaged.

This is not even due to benefits! Although I feel for those who are on benefits as if there was a worse than second-class, I am ashamed to say, that would be it right now!

The premise of Social Housing was for Low to middle income earners to have a safe secure home that they could afford.

Now Social Housing is just an avenue for over exuberant policy makers to try & mould this populace (underbelly) into the society they want. We’ve seen a Stealth Discrimination of making Social Housing only available recently to the most desperate – via points systems etc… Again fuelling the belief that this is where the most disadvantaged & vulnerable should be kept!

Followed by a disparity in laws so great that Social Housing tenants can suffer years of recorded abuse at the hands of private owners with NO RESPITE – yet one wrong word (yes word) & a socially housed tenant risks eviction for breach of tenancy!

I for one don’t wish to see the back of Social Housing – However I do wish to see it back to where it should be – affordable housing for those who deserve it, those who show willingness to care for it, pay towards it (if they can) and respect it.

I also wish to see a day when your housing status isn’t taken as an indication of your moral, financial, educational worth (or lack thereof) – where we don’t need constant “help” from our landlords!

We want to live in peaceful enjoyment of our homes – not under a barrage of laws….

I would like to see someone who has lived in Social Housing get a chance to tell some MP’s Policy makers how they have affected some of our lives..

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This entry was posted in Education, Homes, Housing, Intervention, MP, Poverty, Rent, Second Class, Social Housing, Tenant, Vulnerable. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to First Post – Why am I Here

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  3. Jennie says:

    I am a widowed mother of three children, they are all grown up now. My husband died when they were very young and I worked full time to pay my rent and feed my children. It wasn’t until 8 years ago that I realised the public perception that is of social housing tenants. I was listening to a phone in on 5 live one morning, it was a debate about rioting etc and there was a constant stream of phone calls from people referring to council estates full of scrounging scum etc etc, I suddenly realised that they were talking about me! I know it sounds naive but I hadn’t until this point considered that my tenure of choice was an issue for some people or that being a single Mum was lumping me into a box labelled scrounged, even though I had never claimed benefit. It is all about perception isn’t it. We have a saying in the tenant group that I now belong to. Non es non totus Onslow ( some of us even speak Latin!) it translates to we are not ALL Onslows. Unfortunately those that have an issue with social housing tenants will not consider that, like in all walks of the society it is the few that set the scene for the majority. Media play a huge part in the negativity too, Mrs Bouquet from keeping up appearances was not a Council tenant, Onslow was and yet as I visit our homes I meet many Mrs Bouquets! The Ogdens didn’t own their home either, the Bill had a council estate that came into the picture whenever there was trouble, I could go on but my point is made. Good luck with your campaign. I am very proud of my home and would love to be proud enough to say who my landlord is without feeling that the snide comment will follow.

    • Dear Jennie, Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment – Its a funny thing – my problems started about the same time – 8 years ago (Husband left me after 18 years – so I like you became a Single Parent, through no fault of my own). The area we lived in is a “nice” area of South London & one where “Single parents” are not usually housed by the Council as these are fairly big houses. So even though I had been here for 10 years as part of a “couple” I found myself an outsider, “branded” as it were & you are very right that the pride I felt for my home of choice was something NOT shown in the media (the Bill was filmed not a million miles from here)… Far from it – as you say, social housing tenants (of which there were a few in my road) were beginning to be dealt a severe blow by the “asbo tenant – attacking diversifying Landlords & media & the private owners who have come to realise the powers these unequal laws gave them.
      I was immediately assumed to be “claiming benefits” & not just scrounging, BUT very vocally I would be accused of being a benefit cheat – these accusations were also put in writing – as How on earth could a woman on her own with 3 children afford to pay the bills in this area?
      Anyway – long story short- I too can read Latin (wanted to be a VET when you had to have Latin at A level) & I have supported myself & my children & wont be pushed out of the “Nice area” – However I do feel the law & law makers have to take responsibility for how the Socially Housed have been cattle-penned into the underclass status we have over the last decade or so.
      I am going to fight for equal rights. I am shocked at some of the stories I’ve heard BUT also happy that some people in positions of power are listening (silently at the moment, as its almost as if the “stigma” of conversing with the Socially Housed will rub off)…
      You definitely have to have a sense of humour!

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