Social Housing – one implication of the new direction.

There is one implication of the new direction of social housing provision that was announced in the CSR today that immediately springs to mind: while there are many people in social housing tenure who do not really need to be there from an economic perspective, their presence among the ranks of those who really do need social housing prevents many housing estates becoming ghettoes of the most deprived in society. The worst estates in the UK that have become synonomous with crime, drugs and gang violence were often created by poor housing management policies that put all the worst cases of deprivation into one place.

Taking the people out of social housing who are more aspirational, who have worked hard to earn a living and take themselves out of poverty will leave those who cannot for one reason or another, and those who will not for one reason or another. This will not make these good places to live. Currently many families in the social housing net have neighbours who can provide them with good role models and show them that their future has real choices in it. Take those people out of the net and what is left is likely to become a spiral of decline.

I cannot argue against the policy on economic grounds, but I think that its implementation will need to be carried out with great care if it is not to bring as much social harm as it does economic good. Experienced people in the housing industry recognise that social damage usually becomes economic damage further down the line.

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One thought on “Social Housing – one implication of the new direction.

  1. I’d absolutely agree, Rory. The idea of shifting aspirational / self-sustaining people away from their communities as soon as they have adequate income seems to fly in the face of both the ‘Big Society’ (insofar as the BS means anything) and plain common sense:

    http://hilaryburrage.com/2010/08/move-on-if-you%e2%80%99re-monied-or-now-alone

    http://hilaryburrage.com/2010/06/homes-job-prospects-and-horizons-how-far-is-%e2%80%98away%e2%80%99

    If public transport were really good, if social service provision covered all reasonable care requirements for vuland health nerable family members (elderly relatives etc), and if good employment and education opportunities were available and easily accessible for those in ‘estates’ who have the least, maybe making relatively wealthy people move out regardless of their wishes could just about work; but it’s likely these aspects of community provision are about to get worse, not better.

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