Too often, people feel that social housing is poor housing (or housing for the poor). But is this accurate, and is it what social housing should be?
In the United Kingdom, Labour MP Kate Osamor was attacked on Christmas Eve by left-leaning tabloid the Mirror for living in social housing, despite earning £77,000. The conception of social housing used for the attack was that it should only be a place for poor people, but Osamor, and many on the left who defended her, championed a different notion of social housing.
Osamor has lived in her house for thirty years, and the notion that she should be ejected because she now earns a good salary doesn’t make sense. As Dawn Foster
writes for Jacobin
: “Housing should be a human right, and the right to long-term stability in your tenure should be defended at all costs.” This is the approach taken in Vienna
, where 62% of residents live in social housing, and it may be a model from which many other cities can learn if they can get over the paralyzing policy-capture of neoliberalism.
However, it’s not just people earning good salaries who are having trouble holding onto their social housing in the United Kingdom. Nye Jones
wrote for the Guardian
this week about how often attempts at placemaking are simply gentrification by another name
as tenants are forced out of social housing, but rarely make it back into their homes.