Monday, April 24, 2006

"Bad egg" tenants and residents

While I have been out campaigning in Kensington and Fairfield over the last six months I have identified many cases where local tenants and residents are behaving very badly towards their neighbours.

I don't just mean youths and children, but adults too.

What is particularly striking is when you talk to older people that have lived in their houses for anything up to 50 years, and have happy memories of how it used to be. Mainly women, they talk about how it felt to come to live in their street as a young bride, as a young mother, to bring up their children in the area, to go to work, to see their children set off to a new life as adults themselves. They tell me how proud they used to be to live in the area, Kensington in this case, and how bad they feel now that it has become dirty and rough, with drug dealing, anti-social behaviour, prostitution, vandalism, graffiti, dumped rubbish....they actually tell me that they are ashamed of where they live and discourage visitors.

I know this is replicated up and down the country in certain areas.

I have talked to other local Labour colleagues about this and we are agreed that once this election is out of the way, we need to get together to discuss some wide-ranging potential answers to this problem.

What do we do about tenants who are repeatedly evicted

What do we do about tenants who find private landlords who will turn a blind eye to behaviour as long as the rent is paid.

What do we do about young children who are causing particular trouble but are too young for an ASBO

How can a community work together to change things

What kind of housing policy should we have?

Should "problem" families be housed close to each other, in the same area? We are agreed that spreading them out around the population has not worked but has just spread the pain a bit further.

These many questions need a long and serious debate, not just amongst us politicos, but with the affected communities too.

Would you be interested in engaging in such a discussion? Do you too want to know how to move forward and start to make a difference.

Let me know


1 comment:

ST said...

I think tenants who are repeatedly evicted should be banned from council husing - a sort of three strikes rule. Okay, that was my knee jerk reaction, don't take it seriously.

For something serious, regarding children who are too young for ASBOs. I don't think ASBOs in genral work. Aside from the fact that a significant number of them have been given to people with learning disabilities and are therefore pointless, I just dont think it at all conducive to community cohesion to give kids a negative label which may only reflect part of their behaviour/character. Imagine you are a kid who's school has written them off, who's neighbourhood has written them off; will the government effectively also writing them off (as ASBOs signify) really help?