Social Housing: Are you pro or con?

Mike

Well-known Member
Location
London
The UK had lots of social housing, when I was a child, still
does, probably, but Margaret Thatcher changed that by
offering those houses for sale to tenants at a discounted
price, so the estates are still there, but ownership is mixed,
lots of older people own their home, while younger ones
are renting, there are plans to build hundreds of thousands
of social houses, but there is not enough land and you are
not allowed to build on "Green Belt" or "Forestry" land, you
are supposed to find old industrial land to build on, then
clean it up, before building, which can be expensive if the
site had anything to do with chemicals.

Where I am, there are many High Rise buildings going up
all are a mix of ownership and purpose, there are shops
at the bottom, social housing above those, then shared
ownership above them and finally private ownership at
the top.

Here is a link of some of the high rises, there are 8 or 10
actual constructions, but this page has duplicates of two
towers at different stages of construction, there are 7 or
8 completed, with 5 or 6 ongoing, all in the centre of the
town.
Construction in Croydon Pictures

How that works I have no idea, as the idea of the mix is a
new idea.

Mike.
 

hollydolly

SF VIP
Location
London England
The UK has seen great change in its residential market since WWII. Massive construction of social housing after the war meant that the majority of residents who did not own their homes lived in such domiciles. But after the introduction in 1980 of Right to Buy, a programme that allowed those tenants to buy their government-provided homes for reduced prices, the UK’s social-housing stock was decimated.


Social-housing numbers stabilised in the mid-00s, partly due to a tightening of Right to Buy that made it harder and less profitable to purchase such dwellings. But central-government funding cuts to local authorities following the Great Recession and restrictions on the amount of council taxes that can be levied have led to a situation where local authorities cannot afford to build new social housing for their ever-growing populations.


Today, most social housing that does still exist is owned and managed by not-for-profit associations, leaving local authorities to focus their reduced resources on statutory requirements such as child welfare and homelessness.


“All these other things, like women’s refuges, homeless hostels, drug centres and so on, these have all been closed down because the amount of money has been completely slashed, and so it won’t be long before some have no central-government grant,” says Peter Kemp, a professor of public policy at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.


Manchester has one of the higher percentages of social housing among the cities we examined for this index, but it saw an 8% decline in stock between 2012 and 2019. The city has made some progress on shortening its social-housing wait list since 2012, but there are still 14,608 residents on it.


With the shortage of social housing across the UK, low-income residents who cannot get public dwellings and cannot afford private-rental rates are given a local-housing allowance (LHA) to offset their rent.


Social housing in the Uk is known as Council housing, despite the houses being owned by the local authority Housing Association
 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
Our current PM grew up in social housing. His mother was a single parent with a serious health condition. He went to a public school and is now the Prime Minister of Australia. Not exactly uncivilised and knows which knife and fork to used at a formal dinner with other world leaders.

Social housing gives children a chance of a stable home life and an education that they would otherwise miss out on if they were homeless or repeatedly changing their address when the rent gets hiked at the end of every lease.
The poor guy still lives in government-subsidized housing. ;)

 
I think we tried this before. In most large cities, in the 60s/70s had huge multistory buildings with cheap, subsided apartments. We're knocking these down now. Sounded good, but turned out to be a lousy idea. All it did was to consolidate poor people into one area. Maybe if the idea could be used in individual housing?? Everybody gets a house. And really, is any multi-millionaire going to buy an apartment in the same building with welfare folk?
 

JaniceM

Well-known Member
I like the theory of having apartment buildings that mirror the racial and socio economic makeup of the community

In this area we have had experiments that attempted to integrate the poorest members of the community into middle class buildings.

The problem has been that there is more to being poor than a lack of money. In many cases, people have brought the drama and chaos associated with being poor to their new homes and damaged the quality of life for all residents.

I’ll welcome anyone that respects my right to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of my cozy little apartment.
I've wondered this for a long time, going by your screen name and what location says- are you originally from North Carolina? (screen name & location put me in mind of the Andy Griffith Show)
 

JaniceM

Well-known Member
I think we tried this before. In most large cities, in the 60s/70s had huge multistory buildings with cheap, subsided apartments. We're knocking these down now. Sounded good, but turned out to be a lousy idea. All it did was to consolidate poor people into one area. Maybe if the idea could be used in individual housing?? Everybody gets a house. And really, is any multi-millionaire going to buy an apartment in the same building with welfare folk?
I could be mistaken, as I'm not familiar with the term (as used in OP), but it seems it's about "mixing"- housing for everybody.
Someone feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.
 

Em in Ohio

Senior Member
Location
OH HI OH
"I think we tried this before. In most large cities, in the 60s/70s had huge multistory buildings with cheap, subsided apartments. We're knocking these down now. Sounded good, but turned out to be a lousy idea. All it did was to consolidate poor people into one area. Maybe if the idea could be used in individual housing?..."
Perhaps that was a hidden agenda (sorry to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but...) We have places like that nearby and the police are there frequently. As for individual housing, I agree with you. I mentioned earlier in the thread that I think separate mini-house communities are a much better idea. Folks could have part of a 'rent' payment held as a down-payment savings account, until they qualified for a low-interest loan. If they couldn't afford any payments, they could earn work equity in the community. Since their cost of housing would be minimal, they could accrue enough cash through employment to sell their mini-home and move on to bigger and better living conditions.

But, the idea of 'coerced' integration of the poor and the rich seems difficult at best and quite likely to fail in my opinion - at least in my N.E. Ohio location. Most affluent people don't want to see the poor, let alone share space with them. They are the ones who might resent 'subsidizing' them and might even belittle and harass them. Problems wouldn't necessarily start from the bottom - the penthouse-level folks are in a better position to throw stones, in my opinion.
 

Jeni

Senior Member
in my area every complex that goes up in a nearby city is forced to have X amount of affordable units and my son who is in property management has told all the tales of the above posters ....
income differences created problems and targets and chaos .......
The problem has been that there is more to being poor than a lack of money. In many cases, people have brought the drama and chaos associated with being poor to their new homes and damaged the quality of life for all residents.
exactly .....
perhaps the way to address is to deal with the drama/ chaos and decision making that OFTEN is a factor in continuing poverty.

IMO it is insane to say if only they had this ( affordable apartment/ home) all the rest falls into place ......
bad money management and bad decisions are not something that just comes in naturally.
The idea seems to be they will see their more affluent neighbors and start emulating them ........ some things you do not learn by observation alone.
 

HoneyNut

Senior Member
Although people with drug and other problems presumably become poor, that doesn't mean all poor people are criminals and addicts. I'd think social housing would work okay if the drug users/criminals were excluded, nobody wants to live with them. I doubt multi-millionaires would live in the buildings, but sometimes those people already provide housing and live with poor people - their nannies and housekeepers etc.
 
Here in Britain, there is major housing construction underway (which incidentally is destroying open country-side). Most new houses are intended for those who can afford to buy their homes. There is little interest in building for those who are forced to rent. However, so-called 'social housing' is needed, as there are so many people on low incomes. Part of the problem lies in the fact that poorer people tend to cause social problems. Criminals and drug addicts tend to come from the lower classes of society. There is no real reason why this should be the case, but it is a fact.
The different types of housing creates ghettos.....but it's natural for those on higher incomes who can afford a decent standard of living, not to live close to those who are uncivilised.
In my practice, over the years, three doctors, a lawyer, two paramedics, one nurse, a police officer, a teacher, several trust fund kids, and assorted other individuals not usually considered to be a part of the “lower classes” were court mandated to see me. Of course, they resented this

enormously, none of them were poor, all were well educated. Their lives were problematic because of substance abuse. Their behaviour was “uncivilsed” due to the effects of said

abuse. A financial cushion, and a pleasant standard of living are no impediment to chaos, or criminal behaviour. Some drugs are very expensive, and excessive use of drugs and alcohol can cause individuals to engage in violent, illegal, strange, unacceptable behaviour, regardless of their surroundings.
 
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Em in Ohio

Senior Member
Location
OH HI OH
Although people with drug and other problems presumably become poor, that doesn't mean all poor people are criminals and addicts. I'd think social housing would work okay if the drug users/criminals were excluded, nobody wants to live with them. I doubt multi-millionaires would live in the buildings, but sometimes those people already provide housing and live with poor people - their nannies and housekeepers etc.
There isn't an emoji to cover my desired responses (picture an ironic laugh, mixed with agreement, and add a touch of sadness). The last line of your post could be the start of a whole new thread!
 

SeniorBen

Member
It would take several generations for "social housing" to fix some of the problems in America. It would definitely stabilize the lives of many people and families. Instability is often what leads to drug use, unemployment, abuse, and violent crime as well as mental and emotional problems.

Of course, in America, we want instant results, so if it wasn't successful the first year, funding would be cut and it would be privatized, or each unit would be sold off to real estate investors so they could profit from them, much like what happened in England under Margret Thatcher.

The only thing that matters in America is profit, which is why we're in the mess we're in.

It hasn't always been that way, though. Corporate CEOs used to know the value of investing in our country and paying decent wages. That changed beginning in the '70s and has gotten worse ever since.
 
The problem has been that there is more to being poor than a lack of money.
I think unfortunately you are right. Some poorer people are just in need of a helping hand, and for them helping with housing can make a lot of sense.

However in my limited experience as a landlord poor renters often have other problems, from addiction to mental illness to low intelligence to just being lazy, the list goes on. Sorting out who is who is hard. Supporting good people who just need that helping hand is great, I am 100% behind it. Supporting some of the others is nothing more than money down a rathole. I have no idea how we sort this out...
 

Knight

Well-known Member
Social Housing is only one part of trying to help the less fortunate. There is the underlying issue of why is the area in need of housing for a quantity of people in need of social housing.

Decreasing the reason causing the poverty is needed. [I don't think eliminating it is doable]. Tax supported public transportation to & from what ever employment is a must. Access to stores for basic needs a must. Other needs like health care, child care, utility assistance all have to be added into the problem.

Given the trend towards automation, high paying jobs are becoming more difficult to find. Unskilled labor is still needed but the wages paid don't seem to attract workers. :(

Taxes needed to provide that will come from?
 

Jeni

Senior Member
I think unfortunately you are right. Some poorer people are just in need of a helping hand, and for them helping with housing can make a lot of sense.

However in my limited experience as a landlord poor renters often have other problems, from addiction to mental illness to low intelligence to just being lazy, the list goes on. Sorting out who is who is hard. Supporting good people who just need that helping hand is great, I am 100% behind it. Supporting some of the others is nothing more than money down a rathole. I have no idea how we sort this out...
As with many many of issues some folks only see it one way unless they have seen the big picture. A helping hand is wall what some need but more and more need a reality check as well....

I worked with a young mom she was an extremely hard worker but she was a disaster with the money she earned. It was not that her and spouse were not making money on paper they looked great it was their handling of it that made them look like a dog chasing its tale cannot tell you how many people tried to help out but reality was instead of taking the opportunity to catch up and start fresh they found ways to blow it and be short for the next bill.
Social Housing is only one part of trying to help the less fortunate. There is the underlying issue of why is the area in need of housing for a quantity of people in need of social housing.

Decreasing the reason causing the poverty is needed. [I don't think eliminating it is doable]. Tax supported public transportation to & from what ever employment is a must. Access to stores for basic needs a must. Other needs like health care, child care, utility assistance all have to be added into the problem.

Given the trend towards automation, high paying jobs are becoming more difficult to find. Unskilled labor is still needed but the wages paid don't seem to attract workers. :(

Taxes needed to provide that will come from?
these programs have been in existence for decades yet poverty has grown ........ because to play the get help game you find you cannot move up you cannot take overtime etc because even a hour of wages over the program help disappears.
In order to get reduced lunch prices at a public school they told a co-worker he would need to cut 1.5 hours off his work week ..... told him go home early .... they did not care about his JOB just what hoops he needed to qualify for help which in turn gets school more money if X% of students were taking advantage of these programs .....
the only people helped by decades of programs are the deluge of government employees working to administer programs.
 
I worked with a young mom she was an extremely hard worker but she was a disaster with the money she earned. It was not that her and spouse were not making money on paper they looked great it was their handling of it that made them look like a dog chasing its tale cannot tell you how many people tried to help out but reality was instead of taking the opportunity to catch up and start fresh they found ways to blow it and be short for the next bill.
Hard to fix stupid...
 

Knight

Well-known Member
the only people helped by decades of programs are the deluge of government employees working to administer programs.
And therein lies the problem. Taxes pay government employees so there is no need to compete. I worked for the US postal system long ago. The more hires the more management was paid. The wages & benefits for a GS6 were good , but the repetition & boredom of the job was more than I could take. I quit.
 

Warrigal

SF VIP
Perhaps that was a hidden agenda (sorry to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but...) We have places like that nearby and the police are there frequently. As for individual housing, I agree with you. I mentioned earlier in the thread that I think separate mini-house communities are a much better idea. Folks could have part of a 'rent' payment held as a down-payment savings account, until they qualified for a low-interest loan. If they couldn't afford any payments, they could earn work equity in the community. Since their cost of housing would be minimal, they could accrue enough cash through employment to sell their mini-home and move on to bigger and better living conditions.

But, the idea of 'coerced' integration of the poor and the rich seems difficult at best and quite likely to fail in my opinion - at least in my N.E. Ohio location. Most affluent people don't want to see the poor, let alone share space with them. They are the ones who might resent 'subsidizing' them and might even belittle and harass them. Problems wouldn't necessarily start from the bottom - the penthouse-level folks are in a better position to throw stones, in my opinion.
Hasn't it been shown that unless there is low cost housing available in or near more expensive districts there eventually develops a problem getting labour to service the homes of the rich, to remove the garbage and to work in the shops? The cost of transport is just one limiting factor. Even teachers, nurses and police eventually become scarce because their wages are not sufficient to make it worthwhile.

Somehow, as I write this I am reminded of South Africa during Apartheid. No blacks allowed to live in the white districts but they had to travel through the night on buses to be on duty early in the mornings and the evenings.
 

Warrigal

SF VIP
It would take several generations for "social housing" to fix some of the problems in America. It would definitely stabilize the lives of many people and families. Instability is often what leads to drug use, unemployment, abuse, and violent crime as well as mental and emotional problems.

Of course, in America, we want instant results, so if it wasn't successful the first year, funding would be cut and it would be privatized, or each unit would be sold off to real estate investors so they could profit from them, much like what happened in England under Margret Thatcher.

The only thing that matters in America is profit, which is why we're in the mess we're in.

It hasn't always been that way, though. Corporate CEOs used to know the value of investing in our country and paying decent wages. That changed beginning in the '70s and has gotten worse ever since.
I think you are definitely on the right track here. I am reminded of something said by Dom Helder Camara

"When I give food for the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." - Dom Helder Camara.

 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
Sad to say that the billions of dollars spent on the problem of poverty in America during my lifetime have done more to improve the lives of the upper and middle classes that manage the bureaucracy and provide the services.

I'm not suggesting that we give up, but it's pretty clear that what we've been doing only warehouses people without addressing their problems or providing a path to an independent middle-class life.

IMO education and training are the keys but it also requires an individual's resolve to succeed.
 

HoneyNut

Senior Member
the only people helped by decades of programs are the deluge of government employees working to administer programs.
This is not true, millions of people have been helped by the various social welfare programs (like SSI, SNAP, WIC, energy assistance program, Medicaid/CHIP, Headstart, children getting free and reduced meals, Medicare and later also the expanded Medicare Part D, Obamacare, and housing assistance).
Also, the percentage of the population employed as government (federal, state, local) employees has not gone up (has in fact gone a tiny bit down over the past 4 decades).
 


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