Saturday, 8 May 2010

"They're not going to parachute you into a flat"

I went to the Parent Council's housing meeting because I said I would even though I knew it would be depressing.

It wasn't depressing, I was too hungover for depressing. Not too hungover to get angry though.

Two representatives of the council were there to answer our questions. Our "why?" questiions.

First up, a Bangladeshi mum who lives in a two bed council flat. She had two kids and fostered another. She had over 500 points. With the birth of two more children, she gave up fostering and the council have taken away over 250 of those points.

"Are they different?" she asked. "The child I'm looking after or my own?"

"No," said the council rep. He couldn't explain it. The fire was stoked in my belly on her behalf though.

Others were overcrowded and asked what they could do. Leave their secure tenancy and get an insecure one was the response.

I queried why facing homelessness, I could not get the insecurity points. "You don't know do you?" I said. "It's because I am already statutory homeless, because I am homeless I can't even get overcrowding points."

They said PRS or hostel. I said they were happy to keep bouncing my son around. Meanwhile, people were getting housed with more points who had waited less time.

"Well they're not going to parachute you into a flat," said the guy. Prick. That's not what I'm suggesting.

The other parents were angry on my behalf, while I got angrier on behalf of all our children.

It was great to see some of the parents, some I've not seen in a while.

The Polish mum I wrote my poem about was there. "I got a place!" she said, walking over to me.
"Oh that's great, " I said genuinely but flatly because my head was banging.

She accepted a one bed in a Victorian conversion. She was 2nd on the list but the first person didn't show up. The others behind her had more points than her, she said. "450 one, 480 another." None of them had children. She knew that because she asked them.

She said in a years time she can swap it for a two bed. I was sold that line, for it is a line. No-one's swapping, particulary those in 4-beds whose children have flown. I don't fancy this mum's chances anyway because she said she didn't want to live in a tower on an estate. That's the only hope she's got, if any at all.

My new hope is her story. You don't need the 'highest points' to get a place.

The other is that my 'hood's turned Red. We oofed out the sitting Tory, happy to auction off council flats despite living in one himself, who told me not to go for a council property because of my "social profile" and to take "creative steps" to social housing instead....

Hope and plenty of water has seen my hangover off.

Parliament is still hung. I missed the "Take Back Parliament" demo where 1000's of protesters gathered in central London and Clegg told them he would negociate electoral reform.

I hope he does. Even if that means doing a deal with the squatting PM instead.

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