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.”
“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.

3 comments:

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

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  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.

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