New need for social housing

The immense grief for lives lost in this pandemic will have impacts on many aspects of life and endeavour. Far from any return to normal, the new normality must respect those whose lives have been lost – and many other losses. Jobs, Opportunities, Education, Health, are just some of many missing ingredients that will affect all families.

The readjustments and reconstruction will take a great deal of time and effort.

When we rebuild local and national life, our new priorities must surely reflect those aspects of the old normal that have been so cruelly and embarrassingly exposed. “When the tide goes out, you can see who has been swimming naked”. Government, national and local, should see this as an opportunity to change course – to have licence to correct some attitudes that were stuck in the past.

One major policy area long overdue for a complete rethink is Social Housing. The economic downturn will turn the spotlight on housing affordability. The old 1980 attitudes that killed council investment in social housing will need to be revisited.

For more than three decades, the dominant theme of housing policy has been encouragement of home ownership. Now is the time to look at the results – major housing shortages, unaffordable prices, reduced social mobility, child poverty and homelessness.

Any Council that decides to buck this trend – to reinstate local housing investment for local families – will deservedly earn praise from a community learning to cope with life after the pandemic.

We reflect on the silent sadness all around, but Easter is surely a time for renewal, for hope, for a better future for all our families. Our Easter wishes to our community is taken from the words of FR Scott: ‘We rise, to play a greater part’.

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