Monday, September 14, 2009

The Housing Poverty Trap

It was all going so well. I was being shown around a semi derelict house by a housing association and the local council. It had been empty for twenty years and had recently emerged from behind a thicket of undergrowth that the council had just cleared. Not only could I now see the house, but I could see what was going to happen to it, the council had persuaded the owner to lease it to a housing association who would renovate it and deduct their costs off the rent for a couple of years.

For no cost to the owner and not much cost to the public purse, the house would once again become somebody’s home; and not only that, an affordable home for somebody in housing need. I was feeling good. Then the bombshell; it was just a short remark slipped into a question. “Of course we will have to choose somebody who won’t be seeking work.”
“ Won’t?!”
“ If they find work it will all unravel.”
“ Housing benefit pays far better than they will be able to afford if they get a job”
And there it was, the housing poverty trap. Promise to stay unemployed and you can have a nice roomy newly renovated house, think about getting a job and you’ll have to stay in crappy cheap temporary council housing.

What is happening to the empty house is wonderful, but system it is done within stinks.


  1. Nice article and it all makes sense. Thank you for sharing your insight about the matter.

  2. It's so sad to know that despite the number of homeless people are increasing yet there are government housing project that are still empty. I hope that it will be resolve soon so that it can be used by the people who needs it.