Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Kyoto

Social Housing

Recommended Posts

My cousin is trying to find social housing at the minute in order to move out from her parents place. She works part time and the family also help out, but she hasn't been able to find anything in the private rental market that is suitable for her child, commutable to work, and affordable. And she really isn't being fussy here.

She thought ahead and applied for social housing over a year ago shortly after the birth of her child. She has kept quiet and let the months pass, and heard pretty much nothing from the local authority. Now though, with the child getting older and needing their own room, she has recently started chasing and booked a visit from a housing officer.

The housing officer came over yesterday for a chat and I listened in surprise at their conversation.

She started by painting an image of a group of people within our town who always managed to secure the newest and the best properties by virtue of their knowledge of the system. Internally, the authority operate a points based system, and even many existing social housing tenants will learn how to maximise their point allocation in order to secure moves, say, into new build properties that have come available. This means that a lot of the best social housing is out of reach before you even start, and that the those in the know are always able to maximise their points allocation above the un-informed like us.

She then explained how essentially everyone who succesfully secures social housing does so by lying. Pretty much everyone complains of a bad back so they can't live in flats, everyone has an ex boyfriend in the worst estates so they don't get placed there, everyone needs a property with integrated appliances because they can't afford their own, and everyone is due to end up homeless within a week. She basically said that this was the minimum before you were even considered. The housing officer, who is an employee of the local authority, actually dictated to us the bullet points to write in a letter to explain what the situation was - even though my cousin has none of these problems. We really need to paint a pitiful picture to get considered.

Next she said that that time on the waiting list was a complete non issue. She described allocation process as 50% points system and 50% whomever shouts the loudest. She told her to phone every day and write complaint letters in order to get some attention even after the outright fraud above.

The last part was the most interesting to me as a paid up member of HPC. She explained how the local authority had made arrangments with the 'house builders' to rent out their properties as a result of the credit crunch (never heard of that before!). However, these people didn't want the usual tearaways with lots of children moving into them and devaluing the areas. Reading between the lines only a little, the lady implied that she was telling my cousin, being from a good home, how to maximise her point allocation such that she would secure one of these new properties over a less desirable family.

I found this all a very odd way to operate, and feel sorry for honest people on the waiting list and in genuine need for social housing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My cousin is trying to find social housing at the minute in order to move out from her parents place. She works part time and the family also help out, but she hasn't been able to find anything in the private rental market that is suitable for her child, commutable to work, and affordable. And she really isn't being fussy here.

She thought ahead and applied for social housing over a year ago shortly after the birth of her child. She has kept quiet and let the months pass, and heard pretty much nothing from the local authority. Now though, with the child getting older and needing their own room, she has recently started chasing and booked a visit from a housing officer.

The housing officer came over yesterday for a chat and I listened in surprise at their conversation.

She started by painting an image of a group of people within our town who always managed to secure the newest and the best properties by virtue of their knowledge of the system. Internally, the authority operate a points based system, and even many existing social housing tenants will learn how to maximise their point allocation in order to secure moves, say, into new build properties that have come available. This means that a lot of the best social housing is out of reach before you even start, and that the those in the know are always able to maximise their points allocation above the un-informed like us.

She then explained how essentially everyone who succesfully secures social housing does so by lying. Pretty much everyone complains of a bad back so they can't live in flats, everyone has an ex boyfriend in the worst estates so they don't get placed there, everyone needs a property with integrated appliances because they can't afford their own, and everyone is due to end up homeless within a week. She basically said that this was the minimum before you were even considered. The housing officer, who is an employee of the local authority, actually dictated to us the bullet points to write in a letter to explain what the situation was - even though my cousin has none of these problems. We really need to paint a pitiful picture to get considered.

Next she said that that time on the waiting list was a complete non issue. She described allocation process as 50% points system and 50% whomever shouts the loudest. She told her to phone every day and write complaint letters in order to get some attention even after the outright fraud above.

The last part was the most interesting to me as a paid up member of HPC. She explained how the local authority had made arrangments with the 'house builders' to rent out their properties as a result of the credit crunch (never heard of that before!). However, these people didn't want the usual tearaways with lots of children moving into them and devaluing the areas. Reading between the lines only a little, the lady implied that she was telling my cousin, being from a good home, how to maximise her point allocation such that she would secure one of these new properties over a less desirable family.

I found this all a very odd way to operate, and feel sorry for honest people on the waiting list and in genuine need for social housing.

Actually, good on her for telling the truth. I was once asked in passing by a handyman who was fixing my taps how to get housing, since he thought I must be 'in the know' since I worked in housing. He was a sweet guy whose girlfriend was just about to have a baby. They were desperate and it was the height of the property boom. Obviously he wasn't earning a lot, they were living in a studio because that was all they could afford, and he was telling me they just didn't have any hope.

He asked me if it would help if they got married. I thought that was rather sweet. But then I though 'no, it would help if you broke up and your girlfriend went to live on her mother's couch'. He would be able to move in 2 weeks after she got her allocation. 'Oh we got back together'. I told him that. He was a decent guy trying to look after his family in a shitty housing boom that robs from the decent. I didn't feel bad about it. It wasn't in the same authority I was working in, and the truth is Britain is a liars paradise because the government and business have colluded to set it up that way. I would have loved to have told him it would help if they got married, particularly since he obviously very much valued the relationship, but it wasn't the truth. The truth is, you are better off to be a liar in a liar's paradise. I told him I didn't like it but it was the truth. I was sorry but that was the only way to get public housing. I told him it stunk but that was the truth. Of course I am not much of a liar myself, but I recognise reality even if I practice the personality disorder of ignoring it for principle.

The real problem is that there isn't enough private rental accommodation. We need more good stable landlords, not less. But the culture is one of fast money so I don't expect that will happen. If there were more private sector rental, there might be a genuine bottom to the market. But a small tight private rental market encourages a premium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What amazes me most is not the post but that people still think this kind of stuff is new. This is old news. Points based system for Social Housing has been around as long as Councils have been housing people. It's wrong and hopefuly one day it will change but don't hold your breath. Next topic please.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What amazes me most is not the post but that people still think this kind of stuff is new. This is old news. Points based system for Social Housing has been around as long as Councils have been housing people. It's wrong and hopefuly one day it will change but don't hold your breath. Next topic please.

I could have said it more concisely, but the point is that the system is abused so much that it's not fit for purpose. And when the actual professionals managing the system accept this and tell you how to game it, surely things have to change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope the same thing applies to tax man

i've been harrassed so much. they sent me some ransom claim which was way out of whack by a magnitude of at least 10 of what i normally owe (i normally get a refund from pension contributions)

after threatening letters about them sending bailiffs round i paid their ransom reluctantly and at the same time complained. i called someone up and was told that my account was suspended so no further action taken but they continued to send new letters to fine me

so i complained again and i got a phone call from someone but still no refund from the ransom i was forced to pay and instead another fine letter!

i actually dont have time to keep harassing the taxman i actually work hard and generate revenue for this country to waste on wars in third countries and the like

but seems i have to spend all my day sending snotty letters to the taxman.. oh when royal mail isnt on strike...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I could have said it more concisely, but the point is that the system is abused so much that it's not fit for purpose. And when the actual professionals managing the system accept this and tell you how to game it, surely things have to change.

It actually has changed in a lot of places with Choice Based Lettings. Great idea. Far simpler. No points, just a limited number of bandings and a length of time.

People don't get on the emergency list unless they actually have an emergency, there is much better checking and it takes less people since all the housing staff aren't at the front desk answering weekly queries from desperate people who think if they show up enough they will get housed.

And the best bit is, everything is advertised so people looking for social housing get to see the crap that is out there rather than thinking that if they stay on the list they will get a 3 bedroom house (with gold taps). They also get to see what band, people who get the houses are in, and how long they have been waiting.

Fantastic reality check. Transparency at work. Its a great system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It actually has changed in a lot of places with Choice Based Lettings. Great idea. Far simpler. No points, just a limited number of bandings and a length of time.

People don't get on the emergency list unless they actually have an emergency, there is much better checking and it takes less people since all the housing staff aren't at the front desk answering weekly queries from desperate people who think if they show up enough they will get housed.

And the best bit is, everything is advertised so people looking for social housing get to see the crap that is out there rather than thinking that if they stay on the list they will get a 3 bedroom house (with gold taps). They also get to see what band, people who get the houses are in, and how long they have been waiting.

Fantastic reality check. Transparency at work. Its a great system.

Same rubbish repackaged and rebranded. Allocation is still based on "priority". How is that defined and who's to say it's right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Same rubbish repackaged and rebranded. Allocation is still based on "priority". How is that defined and who's to say it's right?

All I can tell you is that it has cut down the amount of work and that having been in a prioritisation meeting, the only priority that counts (the top band) is generally based on physical accessiblity and severe chronic health issues. The rest have to wait in line.

Its actually much better than a packaging and rebranding of a 100 points system. In the old system, someone who had 71 points would get a house in 2 weeks over someone who had 70 points and had been waiting 4 years. The person who had 70 points would have priority over the person that had 69 and had been waiting 6 years, although the waiting time also contributed to the points, but to such a low degree that it wasn't worth bothering with.

Now people can pretty much estimate, will I get housed (top priority, maybe in 2 years) or the rest... hmm... I better look for my own solutions.

Since I think that for the most part people should be looking for their own solutions and not relying on social housing (which they will never now get for the most part - its just misery driven by false hope), I think that is a good thing. I also think that people seeing what is allocated is a good thing and that is entirely new. Before people actually believed there was good housing out there and somehow they were just unlucky. It just fed misery and self pity. Now they realise that social housing simply is not a lucky option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remind me again why she needs a home if she and her child (edited) have a bed each at her parents?

I can see why she may want one.

Edited by Red Kharma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shouldn't exist it's unfair in so many ways, rent privately and if you can't afford housing benefit is available.

Landlords\agencies won't deal with you 95% of the time if you're unemployed. What about the obscene deposit you need these days?

I've been told I could be waiting many years to find a Social Registered Landlord who will deal with DSS tenants (well, unless I play the system by making my girlfriend pregnant or something...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • The Prime Minister stated that there were three Brexit options available to the UK:   295 members have voted

    1. 1. Which of the Prime Minister's options would you choose?


      • Leave with the negotiated deal
      • Remain
      • Leave with no deal

    Please sign in or register to vote in this poll. View topic


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.