Sometimes people understand what we do, other times they don’t.
Take, for example, a rumour going round one of our communities where we’re building an older people’s scheme (we are) so we can move older people out of their homes (we don’t… unless they want to) and fill the larger properties with people recently released from prison and “drug dealers” (really?).
There’s a lot to unwrap there…
Here we go.
Firstly - The scheme we're building is for older people. If local people in a larger property want to down-size, we will help them. It’s good for them and it’s good for families in the community because they get a property in their local area.
Secondly - We don’t move people just because we want to… there are laws against it…
seriously… Laws. Even if someone is in breach of their tenancy we must apply to the courts for possession and that can be turned down, so just think what a legal nightmare it would be to move someone out just because we fancied it!
And thirdly - Housing Associations don’t control the housing list. That’s the local authority. They apply to the local authority, are banded according to need, then the people on those lists need to bid on properties. THEN, if they have bid, and they are in the right band, and the property is the right size… THEN, we have pre-tenancy checks to make sure that they are suitable for the area, and that the area is suitable for them. (We're not even getting into the prejudice surrounding the rehabilitation of offenders.)
It makes us a bit frustrated and sad that views like this persist.
We are for local people in housing need, we don’t discriminate, and we have an obligation to house people in an appropriate, sensitive and useful way.
Right, can we get back to the football now?
At least we all agree on that.