During our High Street campaigning sessions we often meet the very people we are striving to win secure, stable, truly affordable housing for. Thank you to Scarlett Knott, a 22 year old NHS nursery nurse, for taking the time to stop and chat to us. Scarlett is already working two jobs to survive and is desperate for a council home so she can be a proper family with her new baby and partner, instead of still living with her Mum. The irony that NHS staff like Scarlett won’t be able to afford to rent a house on this formerly NHS-owned land as it will be beyond their reach if Homes England sell it to a private developer. With a council housing waiting lit of almost 1500, there’s little hope for hard-working people in lowly-paid jobs like Scarlett and her partner if the council isn’t allowed to buy and build on this land. That’s one of the reasons why we are fighting for keyworker homes and social housing on OUR public land.
Our thanks also to Southend residents Kim and Trevor Lilley for telling us how council housing has changed their family’s life so much for the better.
Kim says, “Our daughter Bryoni was born with Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, Chiari Malformation, Neuropathic bowel and bladder and epilepsy.
When she was born we were living in a two-bedroom privately rented house. Her Dad works for the NHS in support services and I am now Bryoni’s full time carer. To begin with, the house was ok before she began to want to be mobile but as she got older, even with the help of mobility aids and wheelchairs, things became more difficult.
We struggled with getting Bryoni upstairs, in and out of the bath, and into the garden. For her to have some independence as she can’t walk unaided, there just wasn’t the room to allow this and the private landlord obviously didn’t want us to modify the house. Also, there was not enough room to store the equipment needed to support her. On one wage, we couldn’t afford to privately rent a bigger house or buy anywhere to adapt it.
Back in January 2019, after being on the council house waiting list for a year, we were lucky enough receive a call that we could view a bungalow which was already converted to accommodate a disability. We were accepted and it’s been life-changing for us all!
The peace of mind that Bryoni can access everywhere safely with ease is just fantastic. She can go to her room without having to be carried upstairs plus the joy it brings to see her able to access the garden by herself is incredible as she absolutely loves the outdoors.
It has also allowed us to get the right supported chair for her as we have the room to store it.
Having this home brought her on leaps and bounds, giving her so much more independence and a better quality of life.
We are truly grateful as we know how many families are spending so long on the waiting list and would love for them to be afforded the same accommodation and new lease of life too.”
If you have personal experience either of how council housing has changed life for the better, or on the downside, how a lack of decent housing has made life very difficult, and are willing to have it published on our website to help our campaign please send brief details to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our campaign organisers will be in touch. Please remember we’re volunteers and not in a position to help in individual cases as we don’t have that power (we’d generally suggest contacting your local elected councillor), but it’s by publicising how real people are actually personally affected by housing policy that we can try to change things.