Polly Neate is the Chief Executive of Shelter. This charity helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through their advice, support and legal services.
Would you like to help raise money for Shelter and help their cause? With Christmas fast approaching, Shelter is asking you to wear your slippers to school for Shelter on 8 December. Ask your teacher to take part and show them this website where you can find lots more information!
Is it fair that some people - very lucky people - have got the opportunity to have a roof over their heads while other people have a sky over their head?
From: Priceless Bunnie | Elaine Primary Academy
It's terribly unfair. It's one of the great social injustices of our time and it's the reason why Shelter exists. Actually, I don't think having a roof over your head should be seen as "lucky". It's a human right. Sleeping rough is dangerous in many ways - it affects people's health, mentally and physically, they are likely to be attacked, and find it impossible ever to truly rest. I can't imagine what it must be like, to be honest. However, it's also very important to remember that people sleeping on the streets are not the only ones who are homeless. There are 300,000 homeless people in the country at this moment, and most of them - especially the children - are living in temporary accommodation which is often very unsuitable, and which they know isn't really their home. They often have to live in just one room for their whole family, and share a bed with their brothers and sisters. Often they're not allowed to have any friends over and there's nowhere to play. Sometimes several families have to share one bathroom and toilet, and share a kitchen as well. There's no privacy, nowhere to do your homework. That's not a home. It might be a roof over their heads, but for these children and adults, it's not what we would call a home. Above all, these children often don't feel safe where they live. That's totally unacceptable.
It is incredibly hard to decide what the best thing to do is. I live in an area where there is lots of social housing being knocked down and I wonder; where the tenants will go?
From: PeperamiMan | Michael Faraday School
Sometimes people who live in social housing will be given another home if their building is knocked down. Hopefully the reason it's being knocked down is to build better quality housing. I really hope that's the case where you live - although it is a real worry that if new homes are built they won't be homes that ordinary people can afford. It often happens that when new houses are built they are far too expensive and only quite rich people can afford them. There is a severe shortage of social housing at the moment, and at Shelter we are putting pressure on the government to build more.
"I don't think having a roof over your head should be seen as "lucky". It's a human right."
Polly Neate, Shelter
Should you accept the first house given to you? Hi, it's Catmad. In school we've also been looking at Social Housing. We were writing a balanced argument on a chosen question. I chose the one above. What I thought was that although it could hold people up being choosy, you may have a NEED not a WANT. Gandhi once quoted 'The world had enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed'. I think that is the biggest problem with Social Housing. If you have a NEED you have a right to have that NEED fulfilled. What do you think, considering all the points?
From: Catmad | Allhallows Primary Academy
At Shelter we help thousands of people who are offered a home that doesn't meet their needs. People and families are different, and what sometimes looks like a "want" is really a "need". For example, if you're a family of five, it's not likely that a two bedroom house will meet your needs. If you earn £500 per week and you're offered a home that costs £600 a week, then it doesn't meet your needs. If you use a wheelchair, you need a home on the ground floor. Families need somewhere to live that is safe for children and gives their children a decent start in life. In a country as rich as Britain, we could easily afford this. We shouldn't be forcing people to choose between eating and paying their rent, or between buying their children's school uniform and heating their home. As a society we should be able to meet everyone's fundamental needs and rights. And we should want to.
Do you think housing should be left in the care of the individual, or with the government?
From: NellieBly:the2nd | Graveney School
Most people in our country can find their own home. However, because the cost of housing has risen so much in the last few years, there are more and more people who simply can't afford anywhere to live. At Shelter we believe it's important that the government is prepared to step in and help them, because having thousands of homeless people is simply unacceptable. We believe that the government should build more homes, because there is a desperate shortage, and also help people to pay their rent if they are in danger of being homeless because the cost of a home has become so expensive. The government should stop people becoming homeless - it's fundamental to a fair society.