Thursday, 30 November 2006

Home sweet home?

The BBC's documentary Evicted shown on BBC one last night was a heart wrenching eye opener. Many of us are in some way aware that there is a shortage in family homes, but this documentary showed us what a devastating struggle it can be for a young family trying to find one.
Since the year 2000, 1.5 million families are waiting for a home on housing registers, a rise of almost 50%.
Gary Porter is the housing spokesman for South Holland District Council in Lincolnshire, his council has recently built its first council houses in 25 years.
Gary said: "There were about 100 homes built by councils in Britain last year. In the same period we had a housing shortage of 279 in South Holland alone. The fact so few are built is down to lack of funds. Central government gives money for housing to the Housing Corporation, which distributes it to social housing landlords and housing associations. "But clearly this isn't working, they can't keep up with demand and the Housing Corporation costs £26m a year to run, money that could be spent on construction."
Alan Walter, chairman of campaign group Defend Council Housing, said: "The truth is council houses served generations of people well and, if given decent government funding, can do for future generations. The job of building decent, affordable and accountable housing should be given to councils who have the experience, the local knowledge and are accountable to the tenants, not by multi-million pound businesses out to make a profit."

Q. Should the money provided by the government go directly to local councils enabling them to build cost effective housing for their homeless families?

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