I am sick and tired of people in housing moaning; all they do is moan and bemoan the state they are in.
That has to change and instead of a rigid focus on the admittedly many problems the move to a resolute focus on the solutions to them is needed.
We bombard government with evidence on housing yet they just don’t listen was just one of the moans today. A typical one and one said many times before and we all see them and have heard them much more in the aftermath of the general election.
Such moans are so commonplace it is almost a case of not another bloody moan as we know that governments of the last 35 years do not listen to social housing and all we do is moan about it.
How do we get government(s) to listen has been asked many times before. Shall we give them better evidence? Shall we do it more subtly? Shall we…oh sod it let’s just write it on the side of a fox and chase it around Parliament Square on horseback!
As governments of all hues have not listened to housing directly shall we SHOUT at them indirectly? I am strongly of the view that we should and by that I mean the way to make government(s) listen is to force them to listen and the only way we can do that is to target the general public.
Make the general public aware that social housing is the answer to their problems and the general public will do the bidding for social housing – and very specifically for social housing not just housing.
Where will my children live? Where will my grandchildren live?
In one of the BBC election debates housing got an airing. Cue twitter feeds going crazy and housing people saying #HomesforBritain had worked. Absolute nonsense. Yet what struck me was the two questions above raised in an audience question which was premised on (a) they can’t afford to get on the property ladder even with the bank of Mum and Dad and Grandma and Grandad; and (b) private rented option was far too costly and far too insecure.
By default, the audience member was having to consider social housing as it was the only option available, and, as is all too typical, the perceived housing of last resort.
Ask the social tenant or any social housing professional and they will tell you social housing is NOT the housing of last choice. Yet that is how it is generally perceived and we tend to focus efforts on arguments that it is not, although we never sell its huge benefits. It is time to simplify all of this and look at those two very bloody obvious questions:
Where will our children and where will our grandchildren live?
At this time and in the foreseeable future, as house prices and private rents become ever more unaffordable due to the supply shortage keeping prices high, the public may not want social housing but they realise it is the only choice for their children and grandchildren. They, the general public NEED social housing.
Yet housing campaigns such as Homes for Britain did not emphasise social housing and instead was incredibly vague and talked of a general housing need for 250,000 properties per year not 80,000 social housing properties; and even more ridiculously vague has the slogan lets solve the (generic) housing crisis in a generation. As a generation is defined as 25 – 33 years that means if today was the last month of a generation month one was the sinking of the Belgrano and House of Fun by Madness was number 1 in the charts.
The general public, however reluctantly, are being forced to consider social housing. It is the only type of housing their children and grandchildren are able to afford so let’s sell the general public the benefits of social housing. Let’s directly target the general public as THE audience for social housing need.
The sector has spent the last 35 years since the original right to buy moaning about right to buy and not on promoting social housing per se, and when lobbying for it has been talking to the deafest of politically deaf ears and ears who are deaf because successive governments have known the general public will not give them grief for not supporting the housing of last resort.
Yet now the general public NEED social housing and they KNOW they need social housing and they know it is the ONLY option open to them to answer the questions of where will my children and where will my grandchildren live.
Housing needs to sell social housing and the social housing model to the general public in order for government to open its cloth ears an listen. After all it is the best rented product with the best rented service at the best rented price and the best product to be able to save up a deposit for the home ownership dream and gives the best stability for those who live there to do all of that.
But hey let’s keep coming up with more subtle and more ingeniously presented ways of talking only to government and you know what you do have more chance of forcing them to listen by chasing that fox around Parliament Square!
Housing group think and we have always done it this way simply has not worked for 35 years since RTB.
It has no prospect of working for the next 35 years either if you carry on targeting deaf ears as your audience and don’t stop and think and then attempt to answer the obvious need and question of your customer … Where will my children and grandchildren live?