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Homeless families are to be moved out of London into cheaper areas.

(32 Posts)
Solopower1 Sun 11-Nov-12 18:03:17

'Working families, ex-servicemen and people who volunteer will get priority in council housing lists over those who are homeless or destitute under new Whitehall plans.

Vulnerable homeless families will be rehoused in the private rented sector, often many miles from where they live, to free up social homes for so-called "priority" households, according to a government document presented to councils this week and seen by the Guardian.

The government is privately urging councils to adopt housing allocation policies that favour "deserving" families, alongside draconian powers that in effect remove the long-established obligation on councils to provide a social-rented property to homeless families.


The move, which comes as local authorities anticipate a huge wave of families presenting as homeless as a result of welfare reforms, is likely to accelerate the process by which poorer families in the private rented sector who are made homeless are shifted from expensive areas such as London to cheaper areas of the UK.


'Ministers, and local authorities adopting the policy, are likely to portray the change as one that frees up social housing for poor working families who can no longer afford to get on the property ladder, and more controversially, as a way to stop people trying to jump to the top of the council housing list by declaring themselves as homeless.

But critics have condemned the move as taking essential welfare resources away from the most needy and vulnerable and returning Britain to a pre-Cathy Come Home model of social housing provision in which local officials decide which families deserve to be given affordable homes.


Ministers have publicly condemned councils for rehousing vulnerable families miles away from where they were settled. But privately officials accept that benefit caps and soaring rents, coupled with the new homelessness guidance, will give councils in high-cost housing areas little option but to relocate households out of their home borough.'

When I first read this I felt appalled at the effect it would have on homeless families. I thought what it sounds like is social engineering or even social cleansing. Also, removing the obligation of the council to house people really does put them at the mercy of unscrupulous private landlords. And why should people have to move from an area where they might have family and friends, schools, etc?

But although everything in me is revolted at the idea of uprooting families like this, could it actually be better for them in the long run? If, for example, they are moved from an inner city area with all the associated problems to a place where they could have a higher quality of life? Or am I clutching at straws?

And the idea of giving so much power to local officials really does worry me.

alemci Tue 13-Nov-12 22:36:14

often people have to move away from their families. It has been happening for years'. for example somewhere like Cornwall where the local kids cannot afford property and there is little employment so they may move to London.

I agree with Freddo.

What about kids with parents in the forces, they move schools.

MiniTheMinx Tue 13-Nov-12 22:55:38

Yes it is very sad that people may be forced to move miles from family and community support, support that some of them increasingly rely upon as state welfare services are cut back.

Uprooting economically vulnerable people many of whom will have complex social needs as well as lacking qualifications, work experience or even just good health is social cleansing.

Community isn't a "nice little place" it is the interface between private and public where people live out their daily lives. Community is about place, belonging, feeling accepted, supported not about manicured lawns and how much profit a person creates for his employer.

This is absolutely not about prioritising community over individuals, this is about breaking up communities and dispossessing the poor of their right to a dignified existence.

edam Tue 13-Nov-12 23:03:11

It's madness. Yes, people have always moved to find work, so why the hell is the government forcing people out of places where there ARE likely to be jobs and dumping them in places where there aren't enough jobs to go round in the first place?

It will cost society, individuals, communities, the NHS and schools far more dealing with the results of all this disruption. People's health will get worse. Children will do worse at school. There is nothing good about this idea at all.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 14-Nov-12 07:54:16

Mini, I partly agree with you.

I don't think a plan like this will be breaking up communities if its aim is to help people that contribute to those communities.

If the people who a to be moved are contributing nothing, but the services they take will be available in the other areas, then I don't see the problem.

This isn't about ideals and what would be 'nice to have'. We have to accept that there is a limited amount of housing in certain places, and while we do need more housing to be built, that just can't happen in already overstretched, densely populated areas. There is a problem that requires more than one solution, and this plan is just one possible solution. It is not possible for councils to do the best for each and every individual when they have such limited resources, so they have to do what is best for the community as a whole. Keeping the people that contribute over the people who don't is what is best for the community as a whole.

Much like a school teacher who can't give the absolute best to thirty five year olds. Se can meet their needs and do the best for the whole class, but there will always be children that would benefit from extra, from one to one teaching or from extra resources. But the amount of help that can be given is limited. As long as everyone gets 'good enough', then I think that's all we can expect from the state.

MiniTheMinx Wed 14-Nov-12 09:57:15

falls off chair, help me up Freddo smile

This is about social engineering. It is about ensuring that one community is sustainable when evaluated through economic measure whilst creating a different "type" of community elsewhere. The costs to society and the country will be huge.

I am quite happy to agree that there is a small minority of feckless individuals, the sludge at the bottom of the jar who for various reasons will likely not contribute positively where ever they go. Positive change happens slowly whilst negative outcomes can happen over night. Many of these people need support and they also need role models. If we ship them off to a ghetto north of Watford where they will no doubt be surrounded by people ONLY like themselves, how do we propose to help these people.

Where is the money going to come from for community regeneration projects in these ghettoised areas. Who will dare enter them and attempt to work with some of these people when they are all clustered together. DOH....... there won't be any money, or work, just sanctions, Atos and eventually room in the prisons that this government is keen to build. Private prisons!

I remember just after the Brixton Riots, I went with my father to visit a job my father had been working on (new road laylout) he had to pick up some plans, I refused to get out of the car. I was terrified. I wasn't alone in feeling this way, there were areas where the police at that time, didn't patrol. My fathers site office was broken into regularly and in the day he had security. New roads benefit everyone but disenfranchised people do not always understand this and if you throw them all in together you will end up with Dantes Inferno. " "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here"

FrothyOM Wed 14-Nov-12 10:28:23

alemci Children with parents in the forces can get funded boarding school places. This is because it has long been recognised that frequent moves can have a severely detrimental effect on a childs academic attainment.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 14-Nov-12 12:57:57

I really don't think it is about Social engineering, but I'm generally someone that likes to see the positive in things, so I could be wrong!

I think that under the last governement, a strong feeling of unfairness was created. It became a common opinion that those who don't work or who contribute the least to society are the ones who receive the most of societies resources. Personally, I think there is some truth in that. It is great for people who need the most to receive the most, but only as long as everyone else isn't ignored. Especially those who work hard to contribute to society.

Policies like this are, in my opinion, helpful to readdress the balance. It needs to be done, because if it isn't, we will end up with even more people feeling disenfranchised and unwilling to contribute to society as they will feel they never get anything back in return.

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