Housing | The Guardian

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice

19/07/2018 12:28 AM
Edinburgh teen admits racially aggravated stabbing of Syrian

Sean Gorman, 18, pleads guilty to attempted murder of Shabaz Ali, 25, in Edinburgh hostel

A teenager in Edinburgh had admitted the racially aggravated attempted murder of a Syrian refugee whom he repeatedly stabbed in the chest and stomach.

Sean Gorman, 18, pleaded guilty to attacking Shabaz Ali, 25, a Syrian asylum seeker, after an argument about noise levels in a privately owned homeless hostel in central Edinburgh in early May.

Continue reading...

18/07/2018 04:46 AM
Toby Eckersley obituary

Toby Eckersley, a relative of mine by marriage, who has died aged 76, was a Conservative councillor who championed social housing rights, most notably in his role at the helm of the Aylesbury estate campaign in Walworth, south London, from 2014 onwards, fighting for fair compensation for leaseholders. They are set to lose their homes with the demolition and regeneration of the estate.

His involvement in housing campaigning began in the early 1970s when, after a period working in the US, he had returned to Britain and bought a terraced house off Walworth Road in Southwark, two miles from the Aylesbury estate. When Southwark council decided to demolish his house and many others in adjacent streets as part of a slum clearance campaign, he led a committee to challenge the move.

Continue reading...

17/07/2018 11:17 PM
Sadiq Khan to cut cash for housing schemes opposed by residents

Regeneration that demolishes social housing will need residents’ votes to win funding

Redevelopment schemes in London that would result in the demolition of social housing will only get city hall funding if existing residents approve the scheme in a ballot, it has been announced, following a spate of controversial rebuilding programmes.

However, the measure announced on Wednesday by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, will not apply retrospectively, meaning it will have no impact on some hugely contentious plans by London councils to raze existing estates.

Continue reading...

17/07/2018 05:00 PM
‘Give a homeless person a camera, and they will look at the city in a new way’ | Benedict Cooper

Stories of the Streets encourages rough sleepers to capture the world from their perspective and earn money from their photos

You’re worth nothing,” Colin’s stepfather used to tell him as a child. Even now, sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester, the words haunt him; as a child he started believing it himself, and is still racked with self-doubt.

Related: New homelessness act fails to address root causes, charities say

Altering the perceptions of average citizens is fundamental to the problem of homelessness. We want to change minds

Related: Guardian Public Service Awards 2018 – deadline extended to 23 July

Continue reading...

17/07/2018 12:00 AM
Kylie Jenner has fuelled the myth of early success – but the odds are stacked against the young | Arwa Mahdawi

While the 20-year-old may soon be worth $1bn thanks to her cosmetics empire, the fetishisation of youthful entrepreneurs masks the lack of opportunity for most millennials

As the world edges ever closer to apocalypse, it is important to take time out from the unrelenting hellscape that is the news to celebrate the occasional feelgood story. So, please have your handkerchiefs at the ready for the moving tale of a young woman who, against all odds, stared down adversity and achieved the sort of success of which a mere mortal could only dream.

I speak of Kylie Jenner. Forbes estimated last week that the 20-year-old, who parlayed her reality TV show fame into a lucrative cosmetics empire, is worth $900m (£680m) and is on track to unseat Mark Zuckerberg as the “youngest self-made billionaire” in history.

Insecure jobs, low wages​​ and unaffordable housing mean​ it is increasingly difficult for your hard work to pay off

Continue reading...

14/07/2018 08:00 PM
Boat-dwellers ‘are being priced off London’s canals’ as mooring fees soar
Increases of up to 89% are turning waterways into ‘a pied-à-terre for rich people’

People living on canal boats in London say they are being priced off the waterways by rising mooring fees. Some have been asked to pay increases that are higher than the total council tax bill for homeowners in the same area.

Earlier this year, 250 London boat owners received a letter from the Canal & River Trust (CRT), the charity that manages British waterways, notifying them of mooring fee increases of up to 89%. Many feel the new fees will be unmanageable.

Continue reading...

12/07/2018 05:26 AM
First-time buyers on the rise as buy-to-let mortgage market falls

Number of new homeowners rose 8% in May as mortgages for landlords dropped 10%

The number of first-time buyers rose in May while the number taking on new buy-to-let mortgages fell, in a sign that government policies and tax changes are rebalancing the housing market.

There were 32,200 new mortgages completed for first-time buyers over the month, 8.1% more than in May last year. The £5.4bn of new lending was up 12.5%, according to figures from UK Finance, a lobby group for the financial services industry.

Related: Bank of England should aim to freeze house prices for five years – report

Continue reading...

09/07/2018 05:00 PM
It’s now clear: austerity is bad for your health | Dawn Foster
Cuts to preventive healthcare have been devastating – especially for the poorest. It feels like the Tories are waging class war

Most people pass through the doors of a hospital as a last resort. By the time you reach a bed, you’ve probably made a lot of small-scale decisions that, if they didn’t cause your affliction, may have exacerbated your symptoms. We know exercise usually improves health, that smoking, drinking and eating poorly have all manner of negative fallouts, and that sleeping more and having less stress will improve our quality of life. The majority of us don’t do what’s best for us all the time because life is complicated and busy – and creating excuses is so much easier than getting on with the business of wellbeing.

Related: The only way to protect our NHS? Set up a National Care Service | Sonia Sodha

Profit and penny-pinching that leads to early deaths and physical and mental anguish is a form of social psychopathy

Related: A million older people 'badly let down' by lack of social care funding

Continue reading...

09/07/2018 06:28 AM
Grenfell-type cladding on London flats to be replaced at insurer's cost

Decision over New Capital Quay could have repercussions for other apartment blocks

Residents in London apartment blocks who faced bills of up to £40,000 each for Grenfell-type cladding to be removed have spoken of their relief after their insurer stepped in to foot the bill.

In a landmark decision, the National House Building Council, which had provided a 10-year warranty for homeowners in the 11-block New Capital Quay complex in Greenwich, announced on Monday it would be paying for the remedial works.

Related: Value of London flats slashed by Grenfell-style cladding

Related: 'Grenfell' cladding: couple could sue after £600,000 flat now worth £90,000

Fantastic news for all residents of New Capital Quay in West Greenwich. Having concluded their investigation, the NHBC have today accepted the claim and will now cover the costs of removing and replacing all the dangerous cladding and insulation across the site.

Continue reading...

06/07/2018 02:49 AM
The Rochdale estate challenging its 'welfare ghetto' image

Lower Falinge residents say media’s negative portrayal of area has been damaging

Ann Doherty moved into her three-bedroom flat on Rochdale’s Lower Falinge estate in 1970, when it was built. Then aged 23 with a three-year-old son, she had been forced to leave her two-up two-down house on the other side of the town centre when it was condemned as unsafe.

Doherty is now 72 and she’s still there. “It was heaven coming here,” she says, sitting in her sunny front room. “It felt brilliant because we didn’t have a bath in the old house or an inside toilet. Everything here was perfectly decorated. It was so lovely.”

Continue reading...

05/07/2018 09:10 PM
'It made me depressed': how poor housing costs the NHS £1.4bn a year

With a fifth of English homes officially not decent to live in, health and housing professionals are joining forces to improve residents’ wellbeing

When Billie Dee moved to London after university, a run of unpaid internships meant she could only afford a windowless room in a flat share in Stratford or stay with her boyfriend in Guildford. The room in Stratford made her “horrendously depressed”, she says. “There was no ventilation or natural light. I felt incredibly claustrophobic and my mental health rapidly deteriorated.”

Her boyfriend’s basement room was even worse: “His room was rotting and damp. I actually got whooping cough, which lasted nearly three months. I was so depressed and anxious, and my self-worth was seriously low because my surroundings were so bad.” The situation dragged on for a year until Dee got a new job and could afford somewhere better to live.

Related: Yes, let’s celebrate the NHS at 70. But it isn’t the only service keeping us healthy

Related: 'The NHS would collapse without them': the growing role of volunteers

Related: Sign up for the Society Weekly email newsletter

Continue reading...

04/07/2018 10:03 PM
Enter the 2018 Guardian Public Service Awards now

The deadline is 23 July 2018. Enter your outstanding public project, team, leader or colleague

Entries are coming in for this year’s Guardian Public Service Awards. With 11 days to go to the deadline on Monday 23 July 2018, make sure your team or project doesn’t miss out. Enter now to compete for a place on the prestigious shortlist and a chance of being one of this year’s winners.

Related: Guardian Public Service Awards 2018: entry form

Related: Nominate your 2018 public servant of the year

Related: Sign up for the Society Weekly email newsletter

Continue reading...

03/07/2018 08:57 PM
Almost 400 people sleeping rough in Melbourne each night, survey finds

The biannual survey of the city’s homeless was expanded this year to take in five council areas in total

Almost 400 people were sleeping rough on Melbourne’s streets last month, according to a survey conducted in inner city council areas.

The survey was conducted by 400 volunteers on 19 June. They recorded 392 people sleeping across five local government areas, with the majority – 279 people – within the City of Melbourne.

Related: ‘It’s a devastating area’: how Melbourne lost its last refuge for the vulnerable

Related: 'I'm a beautiful person': Melbourne's pilloried homeless people speak

CLOSING 226 SOUTH ROAD.

Out knocking on doors in Brighton East and Hampton, letting hundreds of residents know that an elected Liberal Government will close the temporary housing facility for rough sleepers at 226 South Road, and then sell the site. #SpringSt pic.twitter.com/Gd6IrNLT3e

Continue reading...

03/07/2018 04:08 AM
UK housing means high rents and low standards | Letters
Still no rent control proposals, notes Henry C Pryor, while Bruce Tolfield writes of a low quality culture in the construction industry, Tony Perkins makes the argument for ‘micro-living’ for millennials, and Jim Wood has little sympathy for angry landlords

The Home Builders Federation supported by the NHBC (the warranty providers) reported that 98% of the first owners of new houses discover defects on moving in (MPs call for ombudsman to resolve new build problems, 30 June). Bearing in mind how many housebuilders maintained the blacklist of skilled men deprived of a living because they put professional finish ahead of speed and profit, it is perhaps not surprising that the houses they deliver are of such a low quality.

What is surprising in a market economy is that these companies can continue to trade shoddy goods and make huge profits while failing on a regular basis to build the houses that are so badly needed. But maybe things are about to change when Dominic Raab, the housing minister, says the “vice-like grip” of the big developers must be broken, because if you buy a home direct from a developer, there is no redress if defects are discovered. Better late than never, a single housing ombudsman is to be considered.

Continue reading...

02/07/2018 08:00 PM
City properties should be homes for people first – not investments | Sadiq Khan and Ada Colau

As the mayors of London and Barcelona, we see an emergency coming. The way housing works must be changed

For a number of years, cities around the world have been facing increasingly global and aggressive speculation in their property markets – from speculators who see housing in our cities as an asset from which to profit, rather than homes for the people we represent.

In many cases, speculators take decisions from thousands of miles away. Yet for us their impact on the life and soul of our cities is very close to home. Our city centres risk being hollowed out as vibrant communities are displaced, local shops are closed, and the cost of housing rises exorbitantly.

Cities are not simply a collection of buildings, streets and squares. They are also the sum of their people

Related: The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities

Related: Just look at housing to see the true cost of privatisation | Dawn Foster

Continue reading...

01/07/2018 08:51 PM
Yes, let’s celebrate the NHS at 70. But it isn’t the only service keeping us healthy

From firefighters to care assistants and housing officers, a range of public services have an eye on our wellbeing

Celebration of 70 years of the NHS is rightly focusing on the doctors, nurses, therapists and myriad other workers who wear the famous logo and make such a remarkable institution tick. But let’s hear it, too, for the housing officer, the care assistant, the firefighter and all those who work with the health service to keep people well.

It was acknowledged from the very foundation of the NHS that safeguarding the nation’s health was the responsibility of the government as a whole. Restoring a sick person to health was a duty of the state (and of the person themselves) “prior to any other consideration”, William Beveridge wrote in his 1942 blueprint for the welfare state reforms that were to follow the end of the second world war.

Related: The Beveridge report revisited: where now for the welfare state?

Related: Fallen at home? Firefighter service eases pressure on ambulances

Older people living in council housing where regular improvements were made experienced fewer hospital admissions

Related: Sign up for the Society Weekly email newsletter

Continue reading...

30/06/2018 12:37 AM
UK heatwave particularly dangerous for homeless people

Charities ask public to donate sunscreen, water and hats directly or through a shelter

Charities have said that the heatwave in the UK is particularly dangerous for homeless people after the Met Office said continued exposure to the scorching heat could pose a potential risk to life and advised people to take extra precautions.

With temperatures in some parts of the country expected to hit 30C (86F) on Sunday, charities have called on the public to donate sunscreen and water to people sleeping on the streets.

Continue reading...

28/06/2018 06:15 PM
Montreal Moving Day: what happens when a whole city moves house at once?

1 July is Canada Day. But in Quebec, which has twice had referendums on independence, it’s when tenancies traditionally end – leading to mayhem on the streets

Montreal has a valiant knack for inconvenience. The winters are brutal, and when summer finally comes, one can safely bet that any well-attended park, shopping street or highway will become clogged with construction, as every builder in the province takes two weeks off at exactly the same time in July. The Quebecois love doing things all together, en famille – and in that spirit there is Moving Day: 1 July, when the majority of residential leases both begin and end.

To call Moving Day mayhem is to prettify the truth of trucks double-parked three deep on narrow two-way streets, amateurs humping fridges up the city’s legendarily winding outdoor staircases (partly because nobody can get a professional mover – they’re all quadruple-booked), and creative Quebeckers devising all sorts of methods for relocating their stuff. On Moving Day, you will see bicycles pulling gigantic, self-made wagons, and compact cars with so much furniture bungee-corded to the roofs that homemade bumpers made of pool noodles must be employed.

In New York a couple might stay together for the apartment. In Montreal​​ you have the opposite syndrome

It’s impossible not to reali​​se that 1 July​ is also Canada Day. It's punching [English] Canada in the eye

Related: People power: the secret to Montreal's success as a bike-friendly city

Continue reading...

28/06/2018 05:24 AM
Grenfell Tower-style cladding identified in 470 high-rise blocks

Warning that further tragedies could happen made by survivors’ group

The number of high-rise apartment blocks wrapped in combustible Grenfell Tower-style cladding has soared to 470 after councils identified an extra 156 towers in the private sector using materials similar those that spread the fire which claimed 72 lives.

The government made the admission on Thursday and revealed that the number was expected to rise further because the cladding status of another 170 private sector residential buildings is still to be confirmed.

Related: Grenfell-style cladding: what's wrong with the system and what happens now?

Continue reading...

27/06/2018 06:31 PM
Tell us: why does London no longer appeal to you?

If you lived in London and left in your 30s or you’re considering leaving now, we’d like to hear from you

According to a report from the Resolution Foundation thinktank, the expensive property prices in London are leading to an exodus of people in their early 30s. Once housing costs are taken into account incomes in London were £21,350, compared to £22,250 across the UK.

Stephen Clarke, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “People assume London’s economy has been running away from the rest of the UK since the financial crisis. But London’s economic growth is purely down to its population explosion, with hospitality replacing banking as the big growth sector in the capital. Sectors that have traditionally powered London’s productivity growth, from finance to IT, are if anything going backwards.”

Continue reading...