Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Camden Social Housing

Trying to get my head round it all.

The BBC has this
About 17,000 people are on the housing list at Camden Council but the authority wants to renovate up to 500 homes for rental to raise revenue.
Theo Blackwell submits this
Camden council is set to rent out hundreds of flats on the private sector market, despite waiting lists being 17,000 strong.

The story, regarded by one councillor from another London borough I spoke to as "outrageous", has attracted widespread criticism, even making it to the BBC.
The Mighty Camden New Journal also carried this story
There are 17,000 people waiting for a council home in Camden and the council has shown little sign of making a dent in the queue over the last decade. Objectors are angry at the idea that people in desperate circumstances might miss out on a flat because it had been rented out to somebody with far more comfortable economic circumstances.
Raedwald carries a story about The 'Housing Demand' Myth
In every call for an increase in social rented housing, the need is justified by quoting that some 4.5m people or 1.8 million households are now on waiting lists. Have you ever asked yourselves where these millions of people are living now? Are there great tented camps in Hyde Park? Are they sleeping in your High Street? Well, since the latest figures for 'rough sleepers' are astonishingly low, I guess almost all of these 4.5 million people are already living somewhere with a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in.
Which might have been triggered by Peter Hetherington's piece in Teh Guardian
With 4.5 million people on a waiting list for social housing in England alone, and the level of building failing to meet rising household growth, the need for more and better homes becomes more urgent by the day. Remember, the government's own housing targets are based on an extra 240,000 homes annually from 2016, but this year we might be lucky to reach 70,000. Alarmingly, that's half last year's level - itself 19% lower than 2007.
I myself believe that amongst doing the law and order business, rubbish collections and defense, the state (local/national government) has two wee additional duties, namely providing shelter for homeless people and providing low cost housing for paupers. (Me, I'm a pauper, so I get Housing Benefit and I get to stay in the same flat I stayed in when I was fully employed).

Anyhoo, I think out of all I've read so far, Raedwald's piece provides the most illumination, questioning the nature of the 4.5 million on the waiting lists for social housing. The 17,000 in Camden are the same mob. I'm not questioning that there are some vulnerable and deperate people in need of cheap social housing, but what's the make up of the 17,000?

How many are contently staying with their parents or boyfriends and just think it would be nice to have a social housing? What's the breakdown? How many people on that waiting list, just ticked the box without actually needing to? How many people need social housing and how many would just like to pay less rent?

Sure its an admin thing, but its also a cheap fix and lets the debate be a bit more honest about the numbers involved.

In Camden they do it by points, you get points for being ill, for being vulnerable, for having kids, for being on the waiting list for a long time. You get to bid on properties with how many points you have.

So, to validate the 17,000, it would be neat look at the distributiony thing graph, to see if there's like a straight line from the folk with the most points to the folk with the fewest or is it a logarithmic sort of line, which tails off sharply? And furthermore, can we prod at it and see what the graph looks like if you ignore points for being on the waiting list for a long time.

Should it be a 'waiting list' or some kind of 'priority list'.

1 comment:

  1. think an FOI request is in order