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When new social housing is produced in areas of severe affordable housing shortage like London, it is often produced in the form of very big estates with hundreds or even thousands of rented homes - generally with a view to hopefully making some scale cost savings, though that does not always result. Such large social housing renting estates easily incline to being tenanted badly and managed badly. Like private slums (and they do tend to become social housing slums over time), they often concentrate problem households including criminals in excluded sub-societies. The large numbers of children and youths brought together will tend to forming gangs that may be a mere nuisance or become more seriously criminal. Of course these problems are not confined only to large estates, wherever there are concentrations of poor families then children with little to do indoors will take to the streets and form street-gang sub-cultures.



New social housing development.


Developed countries' social exclusion policies, both by government and by social housing landlords, will hence often need to especially address large low-income housing estates. However, those expected to produce such social inclusion policies will generally be educated professionals with little or no experience of living in social exclusion housing, and they may commonly have correct general theories but often be missing the correct practical details needed. Consultation with less educated low-incomed renters themselves is likely to help only to a limited extent, and those dealing with social exclusion housing need to find the tiny handful of street-wise affordable housing professionals who somehow do happen to have substantial experience of themselves living in and raising a family in such low-income housing.

The honest poor in developed countries are handled only by the non-street-wise middle class who run government departments and other bodies. The many problems of the honest poor may include having only black-and-white TV with few channels - for which the UK charges a mandatory license fee and being late buying it brings criminal prosecution (for being poor and not dishonest ?) - and even having such license they are still harassed 'as possible-evaders of the dearer colour TV license'. The honest poor's children not having expensive passports cannot accept an offer of a free foreign holiday. And poor children's school attendance will often get no realistic support. Developed countries' government departments, media, charities and other bodies need to make use of the few street-wise professionals who do work for them, but are often not consulted on any of these types of policy issue concerning the poor.

The UK has tried making some limited attempts to copy the equally limited US Hope VI scheme to convert big bad estate areas to a mix of the unemployed, low-income earners and the better-off. But this sort of housing inclusion move needs other non-housing inclusion policies to be also addressed at the same time.

Residents will have some good ideas on practical solutions, but this type of social exclusion housing is also likely to have an occasional housing professional resident. It is undoubtedly preferable if all big new housing developments are tenanted more reasonably, as by including a mix of some affordable rent units, some sale units and some market rent or near market rent units. Existing big social housing renting estates will often need to be made mixed tenure and often also need to have the proportion of unemployed households reduced. Solutions to this type of problem housing need to involve improving social housing systems and social landlords, helpful is organising or encouraging group project working on estates.

The management and policing of big social housing renting estates is often done inappropriately, basically taking them as no-go areas, and it also often attracts inappropriate solutions. Some support heavy police presence and/or continuous CCTV camera use, while others oppose both police presence and CCTV cameras as 'police-state' intrusion. But most tenants on such estates favour a practical position of both being always available but with just sufficient police presence when needed and with CCTV cameras to be used only some of the time as needed. On both police and CCTV cameras, the extremes of 100% and 0% are generally not acceptable - the right balanced uses of both is what is wanted and needed.

Tenants can easily feel stuck on a big bad social housing estate, especially bad for children, if there is a local shortage of affordable housing as in London. A transfer request may get the reply "in about 30 years time", and they may be unemployed and/or unskilled. Transfer requests may get better results if you sets few limits on possible moves. Or you may have a better chance with a home exchange, though tenants who hate where they live can imagine that 'nobody would want to live here' - but in fact somebody will because it is close to their mother or their work - and you can exchange your small place for a bigger place. Maybe another option could be right-to-buying and selling a year later, even for those on welfare benefits where in England the rules have been relaxed to allow buying a house through a Housing Association. Or maybe you could consider moving to an area that has more good social housing ( in England - Cleethorpes, Liverpool, Newcastle ....? ) Often such areas will also have good private house renting for those on welfare benefits. [Of course in the UK now demand for affordable housing has greatly increased almost everywhere, due to recently increased immigration combined with extensive estate demolition carried out over a few years up to recently when government was thinking that housing demand was too low and would not rise ! ]

For England, government currently funds schemes to aid the housing-disadvantaged that include providing welfare rent payment, subsidised-rent homes and HomeBuy home ownership. HomeBuy is the government funded low cost home ownership scheme to especially help social housing tenants, key workers and first-time buyers to get onto the housing ladder in England. HomeBuy gives housing developers access to grants for the provision of new affordable housing, and can also help social housing landlords in encouraging and supporting their tenants into affordable home ownership.

There are five products in the HomeBuy scheme for those eligible for them :
New Build HomeBuy - new homes are built and offered for sale as leasehold properties on shared ownership terms that means a smaller mortgage is needed.
Open Market HomeBuy - purchasers buy a home on the open market with the benefit of an equity loan that means a smaller mortgage is needed.
Social HomeBuy - enables tenants of participating housing associations and local authorities to buy their current home either outright or on shared ownership terms.
HomeBuy Direct - new homes are built and offered for sale as freehold properties, with an equity loan of up to 30 per cent jointly funded by the government and the developer, that means a smaller mortgage is needed.
Rent to HomeBuy - new homes are built and rented for up to three years, after which time the tenant can purchase their home through the New Build HomeBuy scheme.

A family with young children deciding to stay on a big bad social housing estate should try to avoid their children making friends with other estate children, as by not using the local schools that most children on the estate use. see Overcrowded

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