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Just a few social rent homes is a step towards overcoming the crisis

30 July, 2019

• I WAS disappointed to see the letter from the Morland Mews Tenants and Residents’ Association, (Housing association has acted against residents’ wishes, July 12).

I live in Highbury View, sheltered housing recently taken over by Barnsbury Housing Association which also owns Morland Mews; so I got to know that the TRA was opposed to the proposed garage-to-homes development, even though some garages have already been successfully converted and most of them today are only used for storage.

So when BHA reviewed and up-dated their plans, I hoped that the TRA would welcome their efforts, working with Islington Council, to make this modest difference to the housing crisis.

At least 1.2 million households are on council housing lists and millions of younger people, who are not eligible for council housing, are either still living with their parents or paying at least £53,000 rent to private landlords before they reach 30 years old, making it impossible to get a deposit together to buy a place to live and start a family.

Housing is a historic crisis for generations of ordinary families as I know from personal experience.

When we were bombed out in the Blitz, my parents found temporary accommodation, but at the end of the war we were evicted and lived in a dark, damp basement flat, with an outside toilet and no bathroom, for eight years before we got a council flat.

Then, in 1960 when I was married with two-year-old twins, and living in an attic flat, the landlord changed the locks when we were out and we were evicted. My husband had to stay with his parents and the children and I were taken into a former workhouse in Southwark.

We were allocated a room with two ex-army beds and given a couple of blankets and cutlery – which we had to keep with us at all times in case of theft. There was an outbreak of dysentery so every other day we had to have our bottoms swabbed.

Later we joined my husband in a two-room flat in Battersea, next to a glucose factory; so there were swarms of blue bottles. We shared a toilet with three other families.

It is scandalous that all these years later thousands of young families live in damp and dangerous private rented homes. Many are evicted and sent to live in unsuitable flats miles away from family and friends.

So I ask Morland Mews tenants to think again. Developing even just a few social rent homes is a step towards overcoming the housing crisis.



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