Tuesday, 9 February 2010

"Creative steps" to "secure" housing

"You can tick your box now," I said to support worker as the three men left.

"Oh come on now, that's not fair," said the Tory.

Two and three quarter hours they've been here extolling the virtues of the private rental sector.

I'll get my points increased in the Private Sector.

It's the new "creative step" to social housing.

It's settled accommodation that you can settle in until such time you successfully bid on a settled flat.

I mean obviously, if the lease runs out, you'd have to settle in another place before becoming settled.

Their interpretation of 'settled' and mine.

You can talk talk talk and not be heard.

I was listening to them and I heard what I didn't want to hear.

They were listening to me and they heard what they didn't want to hear.

I was told this place wasn't "appropriate" for my son. There was nowhere for him to play. There was no storage, nowhere to put things. He must come home from school and think: Aaaargh.

We could get somewhere nice in the private sector that would be better for my son and would "fit" our "social profile". We could eventually move to a nice housing association flat that would "fit" our "social profile" much better than a "council flat in a sink estate".

I said I didn't mind living in a tower, some were ok, this one was ok.

They said it would be better for a family of my "social profile" to live in a housing association flat. There are new developments being built with 10% going to social housing. It would be a better place to raise my son, avert his falling into the "wrong crowd."

When I said "hang on" they said this wasn't about other families, it was about me and my son.

I dunno, it's telling me that only people of a certain "social profile" can enjoy the security that a council tenancy brings.

I'm too posh it seems for a council flat.

Damn, I should have asked that: "Am I too posh for a council flat?"

I've been asked, "for us", to visit private flats, to see what I'm missing out on. "For us" was after I'd said I've spent decades in private accommodation, I know what I'm missing, I don't have to go and see them.

I said I wanted to stay here. That's when I was told it wasn't appropriate for my son. I've been writing for years that sharing a room with my son in a flat that has no storage isn't "appropriate".

Only now that they want to get the 'homeless statistic' down by moving us into the private sector does it become an issue. Coincidence that.

A living room is deemed a bedroom. I would get no 'overcrowding' points if I stay here.

Also, my stuff in storage, yes I have stuff in storage...well that wouldn't be paid for by the council any more because it's just for those on the homeless register and there'd be more space for it anyway if I moved into a private flat because where I eventually, in a few years, move to afterwards will be "no bigger".

They suggested I talk to someone living in the private sector. "Will you do that?" Will you do that "for us?" I know a few already you see, that's why I should talk to more, for them.

I was told I didn't have to accept these options. "It's totally up to" me. Whatever I decide. The Tory said that what ever I decided, if I decided I didn't want to do the private sector, he would still advocate for me.

Not much of a leg to stand on though. Not with my low points.

Points, yes we spoke about points. The Tory knows all about points for he was behind some of the changes, extra points for long term borough residents being one of the changes, which I do agree with. He said he found it confusing sometimes. Fuck yeah.. some people have been waiting no time at all and have loads... explain that. He couldn't, it's "confusing sometimes."

He said I was being presented with a lot of jargon. I needed to be explained the benefits of the private sector more "clearly." That was at the beginning though, chat about points and direct lets and secure accommodation, not at the end.

Some people sit around and do nothing waiting for things to happen. I'm not like that though. According to them.

I was told to look at it "creatively". If I move into the private sector I'll have a better chance of being housed.

At the end we agreed I'd go and look at a few private flats.

"You can tick your box now," I said to the support worker.

"Oh come on now, that's not fair," said the Tory.

I know. I know, you're trying to help and I'm not playing with a smile on my face and I'm sorry about that.

But it's how I feel.

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