Ronnie Hughes has worked in housing for more than 40 years. He started a project called Coming Home Liverpool. Coming Home was created to help bring the 9,000 empty homes in Liverpool back into use, and turn them into secure, well-maintained homes, let to people at a fair rent.
Do you think that a lack of money stops councils supporting house owners?
From: Catopie | Grace Academy Coventry
I think the support councils can give to home owners is a complicated issue. Councils need to raise a lot of the money they need to run services like bin collections, recycling and libraries. They do this by charging home owners a Council Tax. So, in many ways councils support home owners by keeping our towns and cities clean and making them good places to live in.
However, councils also need money from the Government and this has been reduced over the last few years. So you might want to think about whether this is fair on local councils? Where they have to say ‘no’ to people when it’s not their fault that their own money from the Government has been cut back.
Also, should the price of housing go down for elderly or children ? By how much money ? It will be hard for someone who has a child or is pregnant as they will have to have enough money to have more space. If they were pregnant they would have to need more accessibility because they might be things like stairs they can’t walk on so they need a lift which would cost more money. The same applies for a child . The elderly might need the same but they might not be able to pay for it if they have a job with less money or even no job. They both also need to live near a hospital for birth or if they have a heart attack. What do you think?
From: Fireball storm | Streatham Wells Primary School
Your question is very detailed and shows your curiosity about the kind of society we want to be living in. Do we think the kinds of help and support you mention should be provided as a right to everyone who needs help, both young and old? Or do we think everyone should be paying for the specific items of help they need? See if you can be sceptical when thinking about your answers to these questions as you are thinking about one of the main issues in our society today, an issue that is often debated between our politicians. Some politicians strongly believe that our country can no longer afford to support
everyone the way we used to. While others think we need to use all of our intelligence and experience to find ways to carry on helping.
If you can have an open minded discussion about this then you will be helping to decide what kind of country we want to live in, as you grow up and as I grow older. My own opinion is that we need to find the money and the will to carry on helping, because I grew up in a very caring country and I hope you will too.
"My own opinion is that we need to find the money and the will to carry on helping, because I grew up in a very caring country and I hope you will too."
Ronnie Hughes, Coming Home Liverpool
I think that if you NEED a social housing and you have an illness, underage, disabled somehow, I agree with Knighthunter24 when saying that if you WANT social housing without NEEDING it then the government should not be giving it to you. What do you think?
From: Blackmagic13 | Hornsey School for Girls
This is a good and sceptical question that gets straight to the heart of the whole debate about whether we should treat housing as an economic issue (an issue about money) or a human right.
My view is that our society now mostly considers housing as an economic issue. This has turned homes into products that are becoming more and more expensive. So you might want to think about what affect this has on neighbourhoods and families in social housing? Where all the most needy people might be gathered, where no one can expect to live there for long, where the houses don’t become homes and therefore whole neighbourhoods suffer a sense of being second class places. Or would we be a better society if we were organised so that social housing is where you live if you either can’t or don’t want to own and maintain a house or pay expensive private rents? As is the case in several other European countries.
As I said, your question is important and I hope you’ll be able to use all of your powers of reasoning in thinking about it.
What assumptions do people tend to make about social housing tenants? What has your experience been of the people in social housing?
From: Olivia | The Economist Educational Foundation
Many people make assumptions about social housing tenants. These assumptions, in my experience, are around behaviours, responsibility and people having only themselves to blame. My own experience of people in social housing is that they are the same as everyone else, with the strengths, weaknesses and habits that we all have. Who owns our houses does not define us.
Whether anyone is young or old, both groups are vulnerable; having a suitable shelter is a fundamental human right. I believe that there should be more social housing outside of London because London is extremely congested. Also, the government should make better living standards outside London. For an example: more job opportunities; better pay; spacious houses and good schools are some of the concerns. If these things are in place, People who are vulnerable could benefit more with social housing by moving outside of London to live a better life. What’s your opinion on this?
From: Goldfish27 | Michael Faraday School
You have clearly thought a lot about how life is in London and I’m glad you want to find amicable solutions to the problems you’ve identified there.
I agree with all of the suggestions you make about living standards outside of London. What I think needs more thought and caution is your idea that people should be encouraged to move away from where they are living now. Our lives are complex stories, not just lived in our homes, but in whole places and communities that we lose if we move.
Thinking about what’s happened at Grenfell Tower this year I’d invite you to consider where all the people who escaped from the fire could live next? I believe they’ve all been offered places within London but not their own borough. Is that fair, never mind having to leave London altogether?
Put yourself in the place of the people themselves and also the housing staff having to work out what to do? And keep asking ‘What’s fair, what’s amicable?.’ I’ll be interested to hear what you think.