Help! I need housing, but I’m not in ‘Housing Need’!
I am one of the Trustees of the FCLT. In my day job I work in the Housing Department of a Kent Local Authority (not Swale). We provide good quality and low-cost ‘social’ housing to people who really need it, and I am proud of the work I do.
But for all the people we can help with a home, there are many more people who we turn away. This is because to have any real chance of getting social housing, you have to be in what is known as a ‘priority need’. A priority need could be something like a health or disability need, being homeless with children, fleeing domestic abuse – things like that. These are genuine needs and people in those groups need our help for sure,`` but (thankfully) most people are not in that sort of need, they just need somewhere decent and affordable to live - and the social housing system is not so good for people like them.
People like grown-up sons or daughters – done uni, working and not earning all that much, but can’t afford to rent a place of their own and forget about buying a place. It’s OK to do a house share with a bunch of others when you’re in your 20s… but when you’re in your 30’s?
People like the working couple with a child who rent a small flat – but they cannot think about saving up for a deposit because they spend all their money on the rent, and they cannot put down roots because they are never sure that the landlord might not decide to sell up and require them to leave.
That is why I went along to the meetings when people in Faversham started talking about what we could do about it, and that is why I am so pleased to be involved with the FCLT. We are ambitious, and our ambition is to build or acquire good quality homes in Faversham so that some people who need somewhere to live but might not be in ‘priority need’ can have a chance of getting something.
We wont change the world, and we wont be able to help many people - but if we can provide even just a few secure and truly affordable homes so local people can stay in the area, then we will have done a good job.