To think people dont understand the magnitude of the social housing crisis?

(577 Posts)
Arrowfanatic Thu 30-Jan-20 13:07:04

I work in social housing. We have endless requests for moves from customers who expand their family whilst in a property which is unsuitable to move them to a bigger property. We advise that family size housing (3 bed+) has a waiting list of around 10+ years and then these customers get mad.

We're accused of allowing them to stay in overcrowded properties, or affecting their mental & physical health and inevitably an overcrowded property becomes prone to damp & mould as it's too full.

These customers also want these houses in the exact location they desire, thereby limiting even more their chances of a move.

We get so demoralised when every day it's the same thing, but social housing is at a massive shortfall for the needs of the country & family size housing is in an even greater shortfall.

My company has an extensive plan to build more properties but it's a 5 year plan!

It's like they think we're lying to them, or the old classic of "you housing immigrants straight away" note, we dont, they have to apply like everyone else. We dont want our customers in unsuitable accommodation, and we really work hard on making the housing stock we do have work.

If you're in this position what could we tell our customers to make them understand the position we are in, and the one they have put themselves in and why we cant help as quickly as they would like.

I feel like I say "we have a shortage of family size housing" 100 times a day & get yelled at 100 times a day for our association not caring. sad

OP’s posts: |
ViaSacra Thu 30-Jan-20 13:11:48

I understand completely where you’re coming from.

As a GP, I have to deal everyday with people who think it’s my fault that they’re going to have to wait 4 months for an appointment with a consultant.

Or that it’s my fault they had to wait 3 weeks for an appointment, when 20,000 new houses have been built in our area without the government providing for a single new GP surgery.

People are frustrated, and they take it out on the person giving them the bad news.

Mouldmeabucket Thu 30-Jan-20 13:12:58

Yanbu. I live in social housing after years of private rent and I appreciate it so much. Then I have neighbours who've never rented privately and grew up in social housing themselves and they don't appreciate any of it. Nothing is good enough. We have such a good repair system (they guarantee to come out within a couple of weeks for none urgent and the actually fix it) compared to private rental (asking and asking for something to be looked at and then the landlord doesn't fix it anyway). But they get the hump if something isn't fixed the same week because they've known no differently. The same people blame everyone and everything else for anything that goes wrong in their lives.

I honestly think that no matter what you as a housing association do re informing people about the lack of houses and why they can't move, they will always always always blame you no matter what. The attitude of it always being someone else's fault or responsibility is something they've grown up with and it's ingrained in them. How dare you not magic them up a four bed house! ;)

Hester54 Thu 30-Jan-20 13:15:02

I don’t think there is one answer to the problem, it’s occurring for many reasons, lack of social house building, council houses sell of and not replaced, yes immigration ( sorry but I said it ). Delays in planning permission, large builders hoarding land, Builders only want green field site’s ( make more money) NIMBY’s stopping building,
Social housing occupants not moving on when circumstances change, ( house for life ) etc etc

CakeandCustard28 Thu 30-Jan-20 13:15:16

Totally get where your coming from!
If you live in social housing you should only expand your family to as many as you can house. Not just birth lots of babies out and demand a bigger place. I’ve never understood people who do that, just expect the world to hand them everything on a plate. Sorry that your having to deal with people like on a daily basis, it can’t be pleasant.

Drabarni Thu 30-Jan-20 13:15:41

OP i've wanted to speak to someone in your position for a while.
Sorry to derail, but I have a question.
How many families (with children) could you emergency house in one day? E,g if they were evicted, homeless etc.
Not sure if you could answer this?

dancingthroughthedark Thu 30-Jan-20 13:19:58

I am afraid I don't have the solution but as a tenant of a 3 bed who would be happy to exchange to a smaller property now all but one of my kids has moved out, I am experiencing similar issues with the demands of those wanting 3 bedrooms. The large list of must have this must not have that is totally ridiculous and I have pretty much given up because of it, So if anything its that you need to show then that they need to reduce expectations and maybe make it clearer to them when they accept smaller properties that its not a guaranteed shoe in to a bigger one. The demands of some of those I see on the exchange sites is unbelievable.

TheGriffle Thu 30-Jan-20 13:21:44

I also work in social housing and completely agree with you. We have a family with 7 children, pregnant with the 8th in a 3 bed house kicking off because we cannot magic up a big enough property in the exact area that they desire.

I had two customers get angry at me one day last week because they had been bidding for over a year and were still 20th or so on the properties they bid on. They were bidding on one of our most popular areas on properties that got over 250 bids each. They have no idea.

BanginChoons Thu 30-Jan-20 13:21:47

Yanbu saying there is a housing crisis. However I do think you need more apathy for the people who are in the situation. You say you are demoralised working in it, imagine living in poverty and overcrowded housing with no options to move, possibly ever. Or being in unsuitable temporary housing, for months or for years.
These people may see you as the only people with the power to help or change the situation.

Gatehouse77 Thu 30-Jan-20 13:27:09

Being critical of the ‘whole’ doesn’t mean you lack empathy for the individual.

Oakenbeach Thu 30-Jan-20 13:29:15

Who’s to blame, the State for not providing enough social housing, or people who expect the State to sort out their lives. The willingness of socialists to tolerate or even promote entitlement of those who think the world owes them a living is one of the reasons I didn’t vote Labour.

Pinkflipflop85 Thu 30-Jan-20 13:31:11

@BanginChoons surely you mean sympathy?

SilverySurfer Thu 30-Jan-20 13:31:52

In view of the shortage of social housing would it not be a good idea to means test those getting a property for the first time but those already in situ?

When I was younger one of my friend's parents lived in a council house. The father owned his own building business, mother didn't work, big new cars, exotic holidays, all three children had left home so there were 2 of them in a three bedroom house. Doesn't that seem wrong to you?

SilverySurfer Thu 30-Jan-20 13:32:35

I think Banging meant empathy.

woodhill Thu 30-Jan-20 13:33:59

thegrittle why on earth would someone have 7 dc let alone 8 dc if they can not afford to house them properly. Very irresponsible of them.

Bet you have to bite your tongue a lot

Endofthedays Thu 30-Jan-20 13:37:05

There was a tv show on called ‘how the middle class ruined Britain’ hosted by a comedian called Geoff Norcott. He started out by saying he was right wing and wanted a small state, but then later revealed quite proudly how he was brought up in council housing and how his mum would phone up and have a go at middle class council workers.

It made me realise that people who have council housing don’t realise what an enormous big state benefit council housing is. So while people will complain about benefits (often given to those in the most dire need), they see social housing as some kind of right.

Quirkyquichie Thu 30-Jan-20 13:37:27

These people take the piss. It's usually the ones who have never worked and not had to provide for themselves that shout the loudest about how shit it is having to wait for what they are entitled to.
Just because you're entitled, doesn't make you any more entitled than the person who doesn't actually have a house, never mind a bed room short.

LoveNote Thu 30-Jan-20 13:39:25

yet here i am a social housing tenant in a lovely new build 5 bedroom house wanting to downsize......but i have to find a swap myself

i want to go down to a 3 bed but i'm constantly messed around by time wasters

why won't they help....ridiculous

Strangerthingshere Thu 30-Jan-20 13:42:08

I live in a reasonably sought after area with a small portion of social housing a short walk away, 2 and 3 beds. We have had single people, and couples see housed in them. The frustration in my area comes from the fact that it isn't always families in the family houses.

BlueEyedFloozy Thu 30-Jan-20 13:43:19

It's also demoralising and dehumanising for some of the tenants.

We are in social housing - a 2 bed with a 14yo boy and a 7yo girl sharing. We didn't just decide to "birth lots of babies to demand a bigger house" - #2 was a contraceptive failure and I didn't feel that abortion was right for us at that point!

I don't particularly have issue with mixed sex sharing (I shared with my brother and it did me no harm) so it wasn't a problem until my DS started to display aggressive behaviours caused by anxiety, repression, stress and Autism when DD was about 3. She was terrified of him and he needed his space - we've been on the list for 6 years with letters from specialists etc and have been told we'll be lucky to get a 3 bed before he's 16.

No matter what we do we are fobbed off and passed on to X, Y and Z who might be able to help. Yet none of them seem to be able to anything.

And yes, I personally have seen people who aren't in dire need be housed ahead of us which is frustrating regardless of their nationality! Our next door neighbor's were given a 3 bed property last month - we are good friends and know their situation, they have same sex children aged 4 and 6 but her Aunt works for the housing department in a different area and told them what to write to "up their chances". A new development opened up last year - the first family to be given a 3 bed had same sex children aged 5 and 8 and a 4 month old of opposite sex. The mother is a councillors daughter.

The system isn't fair, you need to keep pushing to get anything from it and I will continue to do so because my son's mental health is being pushed to breaking point through no fault of our own. We have always worked, paid our own way and receive very little help from the state but we don't earn enough to pay rent and save for a house deposit so we are stuck.

So yes, excuse us for feeling "entitled" to some sort of assistance!

Letsallscreamatthesistene Thu 30-Jan-20 13:43:20


Im an A+E nurse and have to deal with angry customers about wait times and what the service actually provides all the time. Yes its a 4 hour wait to see a diagnostic clinician. No we're not going to see you sooner because your problem is 'only small'.

I think people assume they'll get what they want.

PixieDustt Thu 30-Jan-20 13:43:46

YANBU as there is a massive shortage on houses but I don't think people should be able to buy the house of the council until about 20 years of living in it. I think prior this is where it has gone wrong. Well one of the many reasons.

Beautiful3 Thu 30-Jan-20 13:45:52

Perhaps the council ought to set up and lead a council home swap. It would be easier all round.

NaviSprite Thu 30-Jan-20 13:48:15

I have seen this entitled mentality from a lot of people including my own DH when a series of unforeseen events lead to my losing employment and having new-born twins and not being able to save any money for a few years as all our earnings were absorbed by private renting, bills, living costs etc. We were stuck in a tiny, freezing cold flat with our DC until I managed to secure a 2bed Social Housing house, in a good area too (10 minutes away from my Mum) we were so lucky to get this after 2 years of bidding (started the process whilst pregnant with the Twins). He was moaning it wasn’t a 3 bed (flipping gold dust around here!), that it’s near a busy road (there is a huge sturdy fence separating our cul de sac from an A road. That it took too long to get a house that he didn’t feel was suitable for our family. I went ballistic at him after a few days of his bellyaching. He hadn’t put any work in on registering, bidding, getting pipped to the post, fighting to have our banding set correctly (twice thanks to admin errors) and yet despite all of that I knew we were so lucky to get what we have within a couple of years.

It was hell living in the barely adequate flat with twins, one baby we could have probably managed a bit easier but two just threw the whole situation into disarray. My neighbours (a few doors down) have been moaning that the rent has gone up here by a whole £3 from last year, I told them I was paying more in rent on the crap private flat than I do for the house we’re in. She was gobsmacked, so I do wonder if certain individuals lose touch with what is reality for a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate.

leckford Thu 30-Jan-20 13:51:08

In the past people could live on benefits and keep having children for more benefits and bigger council houses. If you cannot afford to privately rent or buy don’t have more children. Or don’t have any until you can afford to buy

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