Thursday, 1 May 2014

Why Council Homes Chat...?

In recent years there has been a torrent of misleading, sensationalist reporting in both the print media and on television programmes. Recent examples include ‘Benefits Street’ and ‘How to get a Council House’. Each of these programmes had its own special brand of reporting, which failed to depict a balanced and thoughtful picture. Instead they opted for heavily biased journalism aimed at boosting ratings and creating a ‘moral panic’ amongst its viewers.

If the TV programmes and skewed reporting amongst the print media weren’t bad enough, the Twitter hashtags created by such programmes are quite frankly scary! You only have to look at the ‘twitter storm’ created by Wednesday’s ‘How to get a Council house’ to get a glimpse of the hateful bigotry and at best massively ill-informed views created by such media reporting. We’ve had enough….

Growing up within council housing gave me the best possible start I could have in life. It was safe, secure and enabled my family to feel part of a community. It meant I had a happy and healthy childhood and I still hold great memories and fondness of my time there. Likewise, as a housing professional, I get to see how social housing brings out the best in people. Having a home shouldn’t be dependent on someone’s income or ability to pay.

Put simply, a house is someone’s home, where they can grow roots, build a community and have a family. A stable home provides people with a solid foundation for good health, employment and happiness. The tenure of the home shouldn’t matter. It is only right to have a good menu of tenures to suit different needs; however, this does not make one more important or desirable than the others. This is why it’s essential to start challenging the stereotypes created by the mainstream media.

Council Homes Chat was set up to challenge the status quo and to act as a platform for people to tell their stories, especially the ones that the media refuses to report because, dare I say it… they’re positive! The benefits of good, decent and secure housing have been well-documented, both in terms of an individual's health and wellbeing, but also to society as a whole. These are the stories that we need to start telling…

How can you get involved?

If you believe in the right to have a safe, secure and decent home regardless of income and would like to get involved in our campaign, please get in touch. You can find out more about the campaign on the Council Homes Chat blog.

Cheryl Tracy
Community Investment Coordinator, Monmouthshire Housing

‘Council Homes Chat’ is managed and coordinated by Cheryl Tracy, Elisa Faulkner and Michala Rudman and you can get in touch with them on Twitter: Council Homes Chat.

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