Is a right to adequate housing in Leeds too much to ask for? YEP letters

Last week the YEP reported that after a two-year campaign, the tenants of Wordsworth Drive and Sugar Hill Close in Oulton were to be allowed to remain in their homes. On Saturday you printed the comments of four readers - all supportive of the tenants. And rightly so

Friday, 11th October 2019, 6:00 am
Residents of Sugar Hill Close in Oulton have been allowed to remain in their homes, which were threatened with demolition.

FROM: ​JOHN DAVIES

Hands Off Our Homes, Leeds

Over 50 years after the BBC showed Cathy Come Home on Play for Today (which led to the birth of the Shelter charity) we had 70 families who faced homelessness had their landlords been permitted to bulldoze the properties and leave the tenants with a two to three year wait for a council house in the area.

It seems to me there are lessons to be learned here. After 50 years of campaigning over housing does anyone really believe that the housing market works other than to make money for those who already have too much.

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Is a ‘right’ to adequate housing too much to ask for in 2019?

Language gets twisted and distorted. Social housing is really private, and affordable housing is nothing of the sort. Wealthy snobs talk of a stigma over council housing when there is a waiting list in this city of over 26,000 families long - so to many it has an appeal.

After the economy was devastated by the Second World War there was finance available to build hundreds of thousands of council homes to a standard far higher than found in the private sector with secure tenancies which tenants cared for and improved.

If there was the finance then there can be finance now. It’s not rocket science.

The other lesson is that in the face of a Goliath the future can look bleak.

The tenants of Oulton took on the role of David and collectively they slipped a pebble into a sling and with unerring accuracy they smacked Pemberstone between the eyes. People power or tenants’ campaigns don’t always win but when they do the feeling of strength that is gained can be translated to others.

Organise and fight back. You might just win.